Each year, The Fertilizer Institute recognizes retailers and their growers who are doing a good job implementing fertilizer best management practices within the 4R framework. After three years of the program, we have 15 4R Advocate pairs who help us with outreach. Their engagement is a key part of reaching stakeholders. Most recently, our 4R Advocates have hosted a farm tour, participated in a focus group and participated in a D.C. briefing. For details on their efforts, read on. If you are interested in becoming a 4R Advocate or nominating a grower for the 2015 4R Advocate program, click here.
Australian Farmers Glimpse efforts on Illinois Farm
AgView FS’s Malcolm Stambaugh has previously nominated multiple winners for recognition in the 4R Advocate Program. His growers, 2013 4R Advocate Alan Madison and 2014 Advocate Chris von Holton were both on sight to share their experiences with the Australian growers. The tour on Alan Madison’s farm provided an opportunity for him to discuss a wide range of farm factors, including soil types and technology, rent agreements, land value and of course the 4Rs. The tour participants were very interested in his many management and technology practices. Madison talked significantly about the use of technology in his farm tractors, with tractors now having GPS, automatic steering, an automatic determination for things like different planting populations and nitrogen application, and the capability to tell how many bushels are coming from each section of field at harvest time. All three of the 4R Advocates were on hand to answer questions about the 4Rs.
To see details about the day check out the short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZi1z3ukh6c
Retailers Participate in 4R Focus Group at InfoAg
InfoAg has rapidly become the key conference for retailers and service providers to attend for information on the latest precision agricultural technologies. At the July 2014 event, TFI hosted a small focus group geared of industry representatives to help us learn more about how growers think about fertilizer and nutrient stewardship. 2013 4R Advocate, Mike Wilson, with Wabash Valley FS traveled from Illinois to be an integral part of the group. He was able to highlight the value of the 4Rs in his efforts and recommendations with growers. His experiences provided a solid background for input from the focus group. Obtaining feedback from fertilizer industry representatives on 4R efforts and implementation with growers is a valuable component of our strategic efforts.
4R Advocate Shares On-Farm Efforts in Washington D.C.
Justin Stoneman is a 2013 4R Advocate from Breckinridge, Michigan. Precision agriculture plays a key role within his family’s farming operations. On September 18, the Coalition for the Advance of Precision Agriculture (CAPA) hosted a briefing for House of Representative and Senate staff as well as representatives other government agencies. A panel of experts was assembled to discuss precision agricultural technologies, conservation, sustainability, and the nutrient stewardship. Justin was the farmer representative on the panel and as a 4R Advocate discussed the role of precision agriculture in his nutrient management and farm operations. The panel provided an opportunity for The Fertilizer Institute to engage a broad group of stakeholders outside of the farming and agricultural community.