ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. — Vermont Gov. Phil Scott issued a challenge at the Vermont Farm Show this week: find a way to monetize phosphorus, which can cause pollution in state waterways.

Phosphorus is crucial for crop development, but runoff can cause toxic algae blooms in Vermont’s lakes. WCAX-TV reports the Republican governor said Thursday the new Governor’s Phosphorus Innovation Challenge will help fund three to five projects that help extract phosphorus from the soil and keep it out of the water.

State Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore says phosphorus could be turned into compost and organic fertilizer, reducing the need for imported fertilizers.

Moore says she hopes to see viable projects ready to be implemented within the next two years.

Information from: WCAX-TV,