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CEO DATELINE – Former president of The Fertilizer Institute dies

Feb. 16, 2021
By Walt Williams

Ford West, who led The Fertilizer Institute for eight years as president, died Feb. 14 after a 15-year battle with prostate cancer. He was 73.

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West was a U.S. Air Force veteran who began his association career in the 1970s when he joined the National Canners Association in Washington, D.C. He first joined TFI in 1979, beginning a 34-year career at the association that culminated with Ford being named president in 2005. He retired from the group in 2013.

In a statement, TFI credited West's leadership with growing its retail membership and expanding its portfolio to include the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program to promote increased crop yields and environmental responsibility; the Nutrients for Life Foundation to tout the benefits of fertilizers; and ResponsibleAg, a certification program to help farmers ensure they are in compliance with regulations concerning the storage and handling of fertilizers.

West was succeeded at TFI by Chris Jahn, who is now CEO of the American Chemistry Council. In a tweet, Jahn said West couldn’t have been more gracious in the leadership transition.

“In fact, he made me laugh so hard that I cried a few times,” Jahn said. “Today, I’m just crying. RIP my friend.”

West is survived by his wife, Cathy, and his three children and four grandchildren.

TFI said it plans to memorialize Ford’s life and service in the near future.