Nutrients for Life Foundation

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Nutrients for Life Foundation consists, according to its website, of "fertilizer professionals and others in the agricultural community who are deeply committed to educating the public about the positive role fertilizers play in our society."[1] A 2007 press release identifies the group as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) "educational arm of the Fertilizer Institute," incorporated in Delaware.[2] The organization's goal as stated on its website is "to provide science-based information that helps educate people about the benefits of fertilizer."[3] Therefore the organization provides "modules for elementary, middle and high school classrooms" that "provide hands-on activities and lessons to show how the challenge of feeding our world's growing population can be solved with science."[4]

The foundation's 2004 through 2007 IRS Form 990 reports list its name as "the Fertilizer Education Foundation, Inc. DBA [doing business as] the Nutrients for Life Foundation."[5][6][7][8] In fiscal year 2009, the group reported $734,597 in revenue. The 2009 IRS report also explains, "The Foundation uses shared employees from an affiliate, the Fertilizer Institute," and The Fertilizer Institute is listed as a "related tax-exempt organization." The two organizations share the same address.[9]

Mission and Program Areas

In 2009, the foundation's mission stated: "We speak on behalf of ag professionals everywhere to ensure the public is informed of the contribution fertilizer makes to society; to explain the responsible intentions of the people who produce them; and to remind the world that fertilizers are truly the first link in the global food chain."[10]

According to the foundation's 2009 IRS report, one of its three program areas is "consumer outreach/branding," described as "media outreach" and designing "radio and Metro advertisements for a consumer audience linking fertilizer to the food people eat." This was its second-largest program outlay, at $129,644. Its largest program expense was $179,575 for to establish the "Nutrients for Life Professor of Soil and Food Crop Nutrition at the Oklahoma State University. The professorship was funded with assistance from The Fertilizer Institute and the International Plant Nutrition Institute to explore the linkage between fertilizer use and food nutritional quality." Its third-largest outlay was "lawn and garden education through its blog and social media efforts" and "a series of television and radio interviews." $52,759 was spent on its "Fertile Minds" project of "curriculum promotion and outreach."[9]

In its 2004 IRS report, the organization's second largest program outlay was again for "branding," described as conducting a "media audit" of coverage of fertilizers, to "identify media opportunities by better understanding of [sic] interest to key reporters." The foundation spent $113,704 on branding activities in fiscal year 2004. The next program area listed is developing "supplemental science curriculum materials for middle and high school teachers to improve the understanding of plant nutrients and their use in modern agriculture." Expenses in this area were $98,729. Lastly, the foundation made "various tools and resources ... available for use particularly by agricultural retailers and industry members who are seeking to foster a better understanding of fertilizers within their own community." Expenses in this area were $486,149.[5]

Anti-Environmentalist Rhetoric

One of the foundation's 2009 "educational videos" featured "skeptical environmentalist" Bjorn Lomborg and environmental activist turned industry PR consultant Patrick Moore, supposedly "to shed some light about the environmental movement and its agenda."[11] This video is no longer available on the website.

Fake News

A July 2007 press release states that the foundation funded a 2006 "satellite media tour featuring Rolling Stones keyboard artist Chuck Leavell. ... His tour included nationally syndicated radio, as well as national TV reports with ABC News Now and Associated Press TV. Additionally, he participated in interviews with local TV stations across the country."[2] The ABC News clip on the group's website contains no disclosure to viewers, though the Nutrients for Life Foundation and its website is mentioned repeatedly in the segment.[12]

Satellite Media Tours (SMTs) are organized by a PR company and generally consist of a series of one-on-one interviews with television reporters. Medialink described SMT's in its 2005 Annual Report as commonly comprising "a sequence of one-on-one satellite interviews with a series of pre-booked television reporters across the country or around the world. Satellite media tours typically involve an interview with an author, performer, executive or other spokesperson promoting an upcoming event, product, movie or book release."[13] The format of one on one interviews is commonly preferred within the PR industry as an alternative to a media conference.

Smithsonian Exhibit

Another July 2007 press release states that the Nutrients for Life Foundation, along with Fertilizer Institute, are major sponsors of a new Smithsonian Institution exhibit on soil. The groups "donated $1 million toward the exhibit's design and construction," reads a quote in the press release, attributed to Ford B. West of the Fertilizer Institute. "Considering that the exhibit will attract over 6 million visitors a year, we think it's a wise investment and strong reason for members of our industry to contribute even more toward our cause."[14] The exhibit ran through January 2010 in Washington, D.C., traveled to Omaha, Nebraska from September through December, 2010, and as of August 2012 is in Spokane, Washington, according to the organization's website.[15]

Members and Donors

Board of Directors 2012

  • William Doyle, PotashCorp
  • Robert Jornayvaz, Intrepid Mining LLC
  • Garrett Lofto, J.R. Simplot Company
  • Steve Packebush, Koch Fertilizer LLC
  • Bart Pescio, Yara North America, Inc.
  • Jim Prokopanko, The Mosaic Company
  • Terry Roberts, International Plant Nutrition Institute
  • Ford West, The Fertilizer Institute
  • Michael Wilson, Agrium Inc.
  • Steve Wilson, CF Industries, Inc.[16]

Donors 2011

Leadership Circle ($100,000 and above)

Nutrient Network ($10,000-$99,999)

  • Asmark Institute
  • CHS Inc.
  • GATX Rail
  • Southwestern Fertilizer Conference
  • The Andersons, Inc. Charitable Foundation
  • The William & Kathy Doyle Foundation[16]

N, P, K Booster ($5,000-$9,999)

  • Ameropa North America, Inc.
  • Crowell & Moring LLP
  • CTLC Inland Logistics
  • Dyno Nobel Inc.
  • El Dorado Chemical Company
  • Gallagher & Kennedy, PA
  • Gavilon Fertilizer, LLC
  • Grammer Industries, Inc.
  • Great Salt Lake Minerals Corporation
  • International Raw Materials LTD
  • Melih Keyman
  • Kirby Agri, Inc.
  • McDermott Will & Emery
  • Merschman Fertilizer LLC
  • Morral Companies, LLC
  • Thompson Hine LLP
  • UKT Chicago, Inc.[16]

Sustaining Sponsor ($2,500-$4,999)

  • Curtis Lewey
  • All-Safe Industrial Services
  • Augusta Service Company Inc.
  • David Delaney
  • Stephen & Nancy Dowdle
  • The Growmark Foundation
  • Ford & Cathy West
  • Billy Willard
  • Bob Willard
  • Dewalt Willard
  • Wilson Industrial Sales Co., Inc.[16]

NFL Foundation Champion ($501-$2,499)

  • Mike & Carol Anderson
  • Matthew Carstens
  • Consolidated Sourcing Solutions
  • Jon K. Craig
  • Paul Dekok
  • Carol-Lee Estabrook Dorrough
  • Evans General Contractors
  • Ray Foster
  • Justin Gough
  • Sarah Hall
  • Derek Hardy
  • Brent Heimann
  • Jon S. & Audrea S. Hill
  • David Honeyfield
  • Robert K. & Antonie Jenner
  • Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association
  • Overseas Marine Services
  • Jayne Poynter
  • RD Electrical Services, Inc.
  • Bernie Rock
  • Gary R. & Janice K. Snyder
  • Doug Stone
  • The C. Steven & Denise Hoffman Charitable Foundation
  • Harry Vroomen
  • Wilbur-Ellis Company[16]

Former Members and Donors

  • Michael L. Bennett - President and CEO, Terra Industries
  • Daniel Clauw - Executive VP and COO, Yara International ASA
  • Du Keping - President and CEO, Sinofert
  • Lawrence S. Hlobik - President and CEO, J.R. Simplot Company
  • James T. Thompson - Executive VP, The Mosaic Company
  • John Van Brunt - Director Emeritus, Agrium Inc.[17]

Among the organization's listed donors are BP Products North America, CN (Canadian National Railroad), ConAgra International, CropLife America, Koch Mineral Services and Nitrogen Company, Monsanto, and Syngenta Crop Protection.[18] Note: An organizational spokesperson hired in 2011 claims that Monsanto is not a donor or member of the Nutrients for Life Foundation and has never given the foundation money.

Contact information

Attn: Harriet Wegmeyer
Nutrients for Life Foundation
425 Third Street, SW, Suite 950
Washington, DC 20024

Phone: (800) 962-9065
Email: info[AT]
Contact Website:

SourceWatch Resources


  1. Nutrients for Life Foundation, Members, organizational website, archived by the Wayback Machine April 11, 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1 Nutrients for Life Foundation, Media Blitz Spreading the Good Word About Benefits of Commercial Fertilizers, organizational press release, July 1, 2007
  3. Nutrients for Life Foundation, Mission, organizational website, accessed August 2012
  4. Nutrients for Life Foundation, Curriculum, organizational website, accessed August 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 Nutrients for Life Foundation, Form 990, organizational IRS annual report, 2004, accessed August 2012
  6. Nutrients for Life Foundation, Form 990, organizational IRS annual report, 2005, accessed August 2012
  7. Nutrients for Life Foundation, Form 990, organizational IRS annual report, 2006, accessed August 2012
  8. Nutrients for Life Foundation, Form 990, organizational IRS annual report, 2007, accessed August 2012
  9. 9.0 9.1 Nutrients for Life Foundation, Form 990, organizational IRS annual report, 2009, accessed August 2012
  10. Nutrients for Life Foundation, Mission, organizational website, archived by the Wayback Machine on March 11, 2009, accessed August 2012
  11. Nutrients for Life Foundation, Why “Green” groups have many experts seeing red, organizational "educational video," archived by the Wayback Machine April 1, 2009, accessed August 2012
  12. Nutrients for Life Foundation, Satellite Media Tour with Rolling Stones Keyboardist Chuck Leavell, organizational press page, accessed August 2012
  13. Medialink, 2005 Annual Report 10K, corporate annual report, accessed August 2012
  14. Nutrients for Life Foundation, Nutrients For Life Foundation To Fund New Smithsonian Exhibit On Soils, organizational press release, July 1, 2007, archived by the Wayback Machine, accessed August 2012
  15. Nutrients for Life Foundation, "Dig It! The Secrets of Soil", organizational website, accessed August 2012
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 Nutrients for Life Foundation, Nutrients for Life, organizational newsletter, Spring 2012, accessed August 2012
  17. Nutrients for Life Foundation, Members, organizational membership listing, archived by the Wayback Machine December 31, 2007, accessed August 2012
  18. Nutrients for Life Foundation, Donation: Who, organizational donor list, accessed August 2012