The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program will expand the voluntary retailer program to the full state of Ohio, allowing nutrient service providers across the state to participate in the efforts to reduce nutrient runoff into waterways.
The program encourages agricultural retailers, service providers and other certified professionals to adopt proven best practices through the 4Rs, using the Right Nutrient Source at the Right Rate and Right Time in the Right Place. The program is governed and guided by the Nutrient Stewardship Council (NSC), stakeholders from business, government, university and nongovernmental sectors with a common goal of maintaining agricultural productivity while reducing nutrient runoff that contributes to decreased water quality.
On Jan. 1, 2017 the program will be open to nutrient service providers providing nutrient recommendation and/or application services to grower customers in the full state of Ohio. The program was initially launched in March 2014 with a focus area of the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB). The decision to expand came as retailers outside the WLEB expressed interest in getting involved.
“The Nutrient Stewardship Council was getting requests from nutrient service providers, farmers, researchers and citizens throughout the state. We are excited to see this voluntary yet robust program expand to all of Ohio,” said Carrie Vollmer-Sanders, The Nature Conservancy’s nutrient strategy manager and Nutrient Stewardship Council chairwoman.
The program currently has 34 certified retailers who have earned or maintained certification through annual third-party audits, servicing 2.7 million farm acres in and around the Lake Erie Basin. The expansion will allow the program to reach more than 14 million total acres of Ohio’s farmland.
Those eligible for the program can learn specifics, hear from peers currently participating in the program and sign up for certification at a statewide launch event, 4Rs for a Growing Ohio, on Dec. 9 at the Homestead of Radnor, northwest of Delaware, Ohio.