Agricultural Inputs

Intrepid Potash

Intrepid Potash Jonathan Poland

Intrepid Potash, Inc. (IPI) is an American producer of potash and langbeinite, two essential minerals used primarily as fertilizers in the agriculture industry. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Denver, Colorado, the company is the largest producer of potash in the United States.

Potash, a potassium-based product, is one of the three primary nutrients (along with nitrogen and phosphorus) required for plant growth and is critical for improving crop yield and quality. Langbeinite, marketed by Intrepid under the brand name Trio®, is a specialty fertilizer that contains potassium, magnesium, and sulfate, offering a unique combination of essential nutrients for plant growth.

Intrepid Potash operates three solar solution potash production facilities in New Mexico and Utah:

  1. Moab, Utah: This facility produces potash and salt using solar evaporation ponds. The potash is used in various agricultural applications, while the salt is used in animal feed, industrial processes, and deicing products.
  2. Wendover, Utah: Similar to the Moab facility, the Wendover facility uses solar evaporation ponds to produce potash and salt.
  3. Carlsbad, New Mexico: The Carlsbad facility produces potash and langbeinite through both solar evaporation and mechanical evaporation processes.

Intrepid Potash is also involved in the production and marketing of water for use in oil and gas drilling operations, leveraging its access to significant water resources in New Mexico.

The company is committed to sustainable practices in its mining and production operations, focusing on environmental stewardship, resource conservation, and responsible land management.

American Vanguard

American Vanguard Jonathan Poland

American Vanguard Corporation (AVD) is a diversified specialty chemical company that focuses on the development, manufacturing, and marketing of agricultural and commercial products. The company was founded in 1969 and is headquartered in Newport Beach, California.

American Vanguard Corporation operates primarily through its subsidiary, AMVAC Chemical Corporation, which offers a broad range of products and services for the agricultural industry. These include crop protection products such as insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fumigants, as well as soil fumigants, plant growth regulators, and precision application technologies. The company’s products target various pests and diseases affecting major crops like corn, cotton, soybeans, potatoes, and specialty crops.

In addition to its agricultural offerings, American Vanguard Corporation also produces and markets products for non-agricultural markets, such as pest control, turf and ornamental, and public health applications. These include products for the control of insects, rodents, and weeds, as well as chemicals used in water treatment and other industrial applications.

American Vanguard Corporation operates manufacturing facilities in the United States and has a global presence through its subsidiaries, joint ventures, and distribution agreements. The company is committed to research and development, aiming to create innovative and sustainable solutions to address the challenges faced by the agricultural and specialty chemical industries.

Bioceres Corp

Bioceres Corp Jonathan Poland

Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp. (BIOX) is an Argentina-based agricultural technology company that focuses on developing sustainable solutions to improve crop productivity and environmental performance. Founded in 2001, the company is headquartered in Rosario, Argentina. Bioceres Crop Solutions has a diverse portfolio of products and services, which include seed treatments, crop protection, nutrient management, and digital agriculture tools.

The company operates through three main business segments:

  1. Seed and Integrated Products: This segment includes the development, production, and commercialization of seeds, primarily soybean, wheat, and corn, incorporating advanced biotechnologies like HB4 drought tolerance technology. It also offers seed treatments, such as inoculants, to enhance crop performance.
  2. Crop Protection and Crop Nutrition: Bioceres Crop Solutions provides a range of crop protection products, including biological and chemical solutions to manage pests, diseases, and weeds. The company also offers crop nutrition products, such as biostimulants, micronutrients, and specialty fertilizers, to help improve crop yield and quality.
  3. Digital Agriculture: Bioceres Crop Solutions provides digital agriculture solutions through its subsidiary Rizobacter, which focuses on precision farming technologies. These tools help farmers make data-driven decisions to optimize inputs, reduce environmental impact, and enhance crop productivity.

Bioceres Crop Solutions emphasizes the development of sustainable agricultural solutions, driven by the increasing global demand for food and the need to mitigate the impact of climate change on agriculture. The company invests heavily in research and development, aiming to create innovative technologies that promote sustainable farming practices and reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture.

CVR Partners

CVR Partners Jonathan Poland

CVR Partners, LP (UAN) is a publicly-traded limited partnership that primarily focuses on the production of nitrogen fertilizers. The company was formed in 2007 and is a subsidiary of CVR Energy, Inc. CVR Partners’ headquarters are located in Sugar Land, Texas.

CVR Partners operates a nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facility in Coffeyville, Kansas, known as the Coffeyville Facility. This facility primarily produces ammonia and urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) fertilizers. Ammonia and UAN are crucial nitrogen-based fertilizers used extensively in the agricultural sector to enhance crop yield and quality.

A unique aspect of CVR Partners’ operations is the integration of its fertilizer production with the adjacent petroleum refinery owned by its parent company, CVR Energy. This integration allows CVR Partners to utilize petroleum coke, a byproduct of the oil refining process, as a feedstock for its fertilizer production. The company employs a gasification process to convert the petroleum coke into hydrogen, which is then used to produce ammonia. This integrated approach helps to lower production costs and reduce the company’s dependence on natural gas as a feedstock.

CVR Partners is committed to environmental responsibility and strives to minimize the environmental impact of its operations by implementing best practices in resource management, emissions reduction, and waste management.

ICL Group

ICL Group Jonathan Poland

ICL Group Ltd (ICL) formerly known as Israel Chemicals Ltd is a multinational specialty minerals and chemicals company headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel. The company was founded in 1968 and has since become a leading global provider of products derived from minerals, with a particular focus on the agriculture, food, and engineered materials markets.

ICL Group operates through several business segments, including:

  1. ICL Potash & Magnesium: This segment is involved in the extraction, production, and marketing of potash and magnesium-based products, including fertilizers, which are essential for plant growth and development. ICL Group is one of the world’s leading potash producers, with mining and production facilities in Israel, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
  2. ICL Phosphate Solutions: This segment specializes in the production and marketing of phosphate-based fertilizers and specialty chemicals. ICL Group sources its phosphate rock from its mining operations in Israel and has production facilities in Europe, North America, and Asia.
  3. ICL Specialty Fertilizers: This segment focuses on the development, production, and marketing of specialty fertilizers, including controlled-release, water-soluble, and foliar fertilizers. These products are designed to enhance crop yield, quality, and sustainability by providing tailored nutrient solutions for specific crops and growth stages.
  4. ICL Food Specialties: This segment offers functional ingredients and solutions for the food and beverage industry, including food stabilizers, emulsifiers, dairy proteins, and functional minerals. These products help improve the texture, taste, and nutritional value of various food products.
  5. ICL Industrial Products: This segment produces and markets a range of industrial chemicals, including bromine-based flame retardants, clear brine fluids for the oil and gas industry, and other specialty chemicals.

Scotts Miracle-Gro

Scotts Miracle-Gro Jonathan Poland

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (SMG) is an American multinational corporation that specializes in the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of lawn, garden, and pest control products for both consumer and professional markets. The company was founded in 1868 by Orlando McLean Scott in Marysville, Ohio, and has since grown to become a leading global provider of lawn care and gardening products.

Scotts Miracle-Gro operates through two main business segments: the U.S. Consumer segment and the Hawthorne segment. The U.S. Consumer segment offers a wide range of products, including branded fertilizers, grass seed, mulch, pest control, and gardening products under well-known brands such as Scotts, Miracle-Gro, Ortho, and Tomcat. These products are primarily targeted towards residential consumers and are sold through various channels, including home centers, mass merchandisers, warehouse clubs, and independent garden centers.

The Hawthorne segment focuses on the hydroponic and indoor gardening market, catering to both professional and hobbyist growers. Hawthorne offers a comprehensive selection of products, including lighting, nutrients, growing media, and environmental control systems, under brands like General Hydroponics, Gavita, and Botanicare. This segment has seen significant growth in recent years due to the increasing popularity of indoor and urban gardening, as well as the expanding legalization of cannabis cultivation in various regions.

CF Industries

CF Industries Jonathan Poland

CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (CF) is a leading global manufacturer and distributor of nitrogen-based fertilizers. The company was founded in 1946 as the Central Farmers Fertilizer Company, a cooperative of Illinois farmers looking to produce and distribute nitrogen fertilizers for their farms. It is headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois.

CF Industries primarily produces ammonia, granular urea, urea ammonium nitrate solution (UAN), and ammonium nitrate (AN). These nitrogen-based products are essential for agricultural applications, as they provide key nutrients that enhance crop yield and quality. Nitrogen is one of the three primary nutrients required for plant growth, along with phosphorus and potassium.

CF Industries operates a network of production facilities and distribution terminals across North America and the United Kingdom, allowing the company to serve customers in major agricultural regions. Its manufacturing plants are mainly located in the United States and Canada, while distribution terminals can be found in both North America and Europe.

FMC Corporation

FMC Corporation Jonathan Poland

FMC Corporation (FMC) is a global chemical company that specializes in agricultural, industrial, and consumer markets. The company was originally founded as the Bean Spray Pump Company in 1883 by John Bean in Los Gatos, California. Over the years, FMC Corporation has diversified and expanded its operations through mergers, acquisitions, and strategic investments.

FMC Corporation’s business is mainly focused on agricultural solutions, which include crop protection products like insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides. These products are developed to enhance crop yield and quality by protecting plants from pests, diseases, and weeds. The company also invests in research and development of biologicals and precision agriculture technologies to help improve crop productivity and environmental sustainability.

FMC Corporation operates globally, with its products reaching more than 75 countries. The company’s headquarters are located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. FMC serves a diverse range of industries, including agriculture, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and specialty chemicals.

Mosaic Company

Mosaic Company Jonathan Poland

The Mosaic Company (MOS) is an American-based company that produces and markets concentrated phosphate and potash, which are essential nutrients for plant growth. Founded in 2004 as a result of a merger between IMC Global and the crop nutrition division of Cargill, Mosaic has since grown to become one of the world’s leading producers of phosphate and potash. The company is headquartered in Tampa, Florida, and its products are primarily used in the agriculture industry as vital components of fertilizers.

Mosaic operates through two main business segments: Phosphates and Potash. The Phosphates segment mines phosphate rock and produces concentrated phosphate products, including diammonium phosphate (DAP), monoammonium phosphate (MAP), and phosphoric acid. The Potash segment mines potash and produces potassium chloride and other potassium-based products.

The company’s operations are located in the United States, Canada, and internationally, with significant assets in North America, Brazil, and Peru. Mosaic is dedicated to sustainability and environmental stewardship, which can be seen in their efforts to minimize the impact of their mining operations on the environment and their commitment to using best practices in the management of water, energy, and waste.

Nutrien Ltd

Nutrien Ltd Jonathan Poland

Nutrien Ltd. (NTR) is a Canadian fertilizer company. It was formed in 2018 through the merger of PotashCorp and Agrium. Nutrien is the world’s largest producer of potash and the third largest producer of nitrogen fertilizer. It has over 2,000 retail locations across North America, South America, and Australia with more than 23,500 employees. Nutrien’s products are used by farmers to grow crops. The company’s potash is used to improve crop yields, while its nitrogen fertilizer is used to increase crop quality. Nutrien also produces phosphate fertilizer, which is used to improve crop nutrient uptake.

Nutrien operates through four main business segments:

  1. Retail: Nutrien’s retail business provides crop inputs and services directly to farmers through a vast network of retail outlets. The company offers crop nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphate, and potash fertilizers, as well as crop protection products, including herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. Nutrien also provides seeds, equipment, and other agricultural services to help farmers improve crop yields and sustainability.
  2. Potash: Nutrien is one of the world’s largest producers of potash, a vital crop nutrient that improves water retention, yield, and nutrient value in plants. The company operates potash mines and production facilities in Canada and has a strong global distribution network.
  3. Nitrogen: Nutrien is a significant producer of nitrogen fertilizers, which are essential for plant growth and development. The company operates nitrogen production facilities in Canada, the United States, and Trinidad. Nutrien produces and distributes ammonia, urea, and other nitrogen-based products to agricultural and industrial customers.
  4. Phosphate: Nutrien also produces phosphate fertilizers, which are important for root development and energy transfer in plants. The company has phosphate production assets in the United States and operations in Latin America.

Nutrien’s primary focus is on supporting global food production by providing essential agricultural inputs and services to farmers. The company aims to help increase crop yields sustainably, promote environmental stewardship, and contribute to a more secure global food supply.

as of April 5, 2023

The largest company in the Agricultural Inputs segment of Basic Materials and still undervalued. A continued focus on M&A will likely push the top and bottom line higher in the next decade. Right now the market prices NTR at just about 8x forward earnings, where the sector median is 14x earnings. Do we need potash and other inputs? Sure. These inputs play a vital role in modern agriculture, and their efficient management is essential for sustainable farming practices. Agricultural inputs must be carefully managed to maximize productivity while minimizing environmental impacts. Overuse or improper use of certain inputs, like chemical fertilizers and pesticides, can lead to soil degradation, water pollution, and the development of resistant pests. So, there are some risks legally and socially that may not be fully accounted for at the moment. That said, if the company can continue to grow sales and profit the stock should follow.

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