Mosaic and The Nature Conservancy Bring 4R Nutrient Stewardship to Farmers
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Mosaic and The Nature Conservancy Bring 4R Nutrient Stewardship to Farmers

August 13, 2015   |   ShareThis

At The Mosaic Company, we want farmers to achieve maximum plant nutrition and yield benefits from our crop nutrition products. But when crop nutrients run off farmland into a waterway, they can contribute to impaired water quality. It’s in everyone’s best interest that nutrients remain in the crop’s root zone.

To improve water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, The Mosaic Company Foundation continued our partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in support of a multi-sector initiative, governed by the Nutrient Stewardship Council (NSC), to pilot a nutrient application standard.

The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program encourages agricultural retailers, service providers and other certified professionals in the Western Lake Erie Basin to adopt proven best practices through the 4Rs—using the Right nutrient source, at the Right rate, at the Right time, and in the Right place. The program has made significant progress since its inception in (March, 2014).

To date, there are 16 4R-certified nutrient service providers in this program who work with 1,580 farmers on 630,000 acres in the Western Lake Erie Basin, which represents approximately 14 percent of the agricultural acres in the basin. In addition, 50 nutrient service providers have begun the 4R certification process. The Ohio AgriBusiness Association estimates that the NSC will hit the million-acre mark in 4R certifications in late 2015.

“We are pleased with the progress our partners in the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program have made in the Western Lake Erie Basin,” says Rick McLellan, board member of The Mosaic Company Foundation. “Voluntary efforts like these provide a consistent, recognized standard for agricultural retailers, and help farmers learn how 4R Nutrient Stewardship ensures nutrients are available for their crops.”

Florida Farmers Adopt 4R Nutrient Stewardship Practices through TNC

Nutrient management is an important part of any sustainable farming operation, and the specialty crop farmers in Florida are no exception. The TNC Western Florida Agriculture Program has directly delivered 4R Nutrient Stewardship programming information, and advocated for its use with farmers who in total are cultivating 60,000 acres of crop land.

“The Nature Conservancy’s work in Florida is encouraging,” says McLellan. “Through group seminars and one-on-one meetings with Florida producers, the TNC Western Florida Agriculture Program is making a real impact on farmers’ in-field decisions with regard to 4R Nutrient Stewardship.”

Additionally, Mosaic’s Florida partners have successfully worked to include 4R Nutrient Stewardship language in the upcoming Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Vegetable and Agronomic Crops Best Management Practices (BMP) manual and the upcoming University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Services Vegetable and Agronomic Crops BMP manual.  The publication of these manuals, combined with steady, ongoing individual engagement, will help increase permanent adoption of 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices over time.“

Midwest row crop agriculture is very different than specialty high-value crops in central Florida,” says Larry Clemens, North American Agriculture Program Director for The Nature Conservancy. “Obviously the hydrology and soil conditions are different, but so are state regulations and even the key decision makers. We are adapting our approach to accommodate these differences, and the program will mature quickly based on the success we’ve already seen.”