Key Crop Vitality Contributor Honored with Fluid Fellow Award
Dr. Bert Bock has dedicated his life to developing and highlighting the benefits and sustainable nature of liquid fertilizers – and for nearly a decade, that has included enhancing crop nutrition products for Crop Vitality.
In February, Dr. Bock was recognized for that work when he received the Fluid Fellow Award at the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation’s annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona.
“It means a lot to me because I’ve had so much interaction with that organization over the years,” he said. “It’s been a pleasure to be involved in that organization and maybe help in some ways set the direction for dealing with challenges the fertilizer industry has.”
Dr. Bock’s passion for conservation began as a child when he grew an interest in his father’s business.
“He was in the business of building terraces and waterways and ponds, and of course, that has a really big impact on conservation,” he said. “At about the time that I was ready to start for college, conservation tillage was starting to come into its own. Changes in tillage practices had a big impact in how fertilizers are used, and that’s how I got involved.”
Dr. Bock has a Master’s degree in Soil Science and Agronomy from Kansas State University and a PhD in Soil Sciences from the University of Nebraska. He spent much of his career with the National Fertilizer Development Center, where he implemented fertilizer technology that’s still used throughout the industry. He spent a decade as a principal scientist at the Tennessee Valley Authority, where he developed liquid fertilizers and strategies for maximizing their potential, including their role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Dr. Bock calls thiosulfates the “Swiss army knife” of sulfur-based fertilizers, as they do so many things beyond providing sulfur-based crop nutrition. With Crop Vitality, his recent emphasis has been highlighting the nitrification inhibiting properties of Tessenderlo Kerley Thio-Sul, one of Crop Vitality’s most important products in terms of improving nitrogen use efficiency.
“On a personal level, I’ve enjoyed working with Dr. Bock. He’s acted as a mentor for me,” said Crop Vitality Manager of Agronomy Zack Ogles, who presented Dr. Bock with his award. “He’s just been steadfast in his role at and within the fertilizer industry in general. It was a special honor for me to be able to give him the award because of the relationship that he and I have, and the work that we have done together.”
After over 40 years in the business, Dr. Bock is far from done. He’s excited to continue to find new ways for Crop Vitality to maximize its fluid fertilizer products for efficiency and sustainability.
“I enjoy the research, learning about Tessenderlo Kerley fertilizers and how we can take most advantage of them,” he said. “I just like doing new things. I’d like to think that I’m forward looking. I get excited about better understanding the chemistry that leads to all of those value adds.”