Cactus, Politics, and Fertilizer

February 18, 2011 | 9:02 am

I attended the 2011 Fertilizer Marketing Business Meeting in Arizona last week. My home in the Midwest was covered in snow; the Arizona sun was a warm welcome change. I delighted in the opportunity to explore and investigate the local vegetation. I was most intrigued by the Saguaro Cactus. They were scattered across the Arizona landscape: large, magnificent, interesting. To my girls, I described the Saguaro as a prickly giant with personality. No wonder it’s a symbol of the American southwest. Regretfully, I did not stop and pose for a picture. Now I have reason to return to Arizona, to meet the desert giant again and tour the Desert Botanic Gardens.
I was in Arizona three days and could have spent all three days taking in the scenery and plant life, but I was there for business. Our days were filled with meetings and networking. My favorite morning was spent listening to Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel, political speakers and USA Today columnists writers. Their presentation focused on bipartisan cooperation and a commitment to ending cross-aisle political conflict.
During Bob Beckel’s introduction he discussed his preparation for the presentation which included research on fertilizer. He was surprised to learn that fertilizers are derived from Earth. He encouraged and challenged us to educate the public on this very issue; a challenge that I take very personally. Education is the key mission at Nutrients for Life.
It is true, fertilizers are derived from Earth. They are mined and manufactured in an industrial process. Nitrogen comes from air and natural gas; phosphorus comes from rocks in Florida; and potassium is recovered from deep-shaft mines in places like Canada. In my next three blogs, I will give you more detail into how the three primary nutrients are manufactured into a form that can be applied to the soil and available for your vegetable plants.