4R Nutrient Stewardship Summit a Success

02nd May 2013 4R Consistent,4R Events,Implement the 4Rs,

TFI, CFI, and IPNI hosted a 4R Nutrient Stewardship Summit
on June 25-26, 2013 in Des Moines, Iowa. Day one of the summit focused on
broader topics that were national in scope, and Day two was more focused on
nutrient stewardship challenges and initiatives in Iowa. The summit provided an
opportunity to educate the fertilizer industry and interested stakeholders on a
range of issues and for stakeholders to give input and feedback on 4R efforts.

This year’s summit attracted more than 135 participants that
represented stakeholders from all aspects of the fertilizer industry including
producers, wholesalers, retailers and state agribusiness associations, as well
as stakeholders representing growers, grower organizations, conservation
organizations, state and federal agencies and the agricultural industry (seed,
crop protection and equipment).

The invited presenters addressed a variety of topics. Opportunities
within the 4R Research Fund were covered first, of note was information provided
by Mark Walbridge from the Agricultural Research Service on their “Long
Term Agro-Ecosystem Research” sites, as potential resources used in conjunction
with the 4R Research effort. State efforts on 4Rs were addressed by a variety
of stakeholders; the highlight from these sessions was the number of
representatives and support brought to the meeting by each state. For example,
Mississippi efforts were addressed by a grower, an ag/conservation
organization, and a university representative; and Missouri efforts were
addressed by the state agribusiness association, but with stakeholders from
agribusiness and state agencies in the audience. The next session covered tools
being used by agricultural stakeholders to address nutrient related issues, and
each tool was covered by an expert with experience in the development and use
of the tool. Discussions then turned to Iowa specific topics. Background
details on Iowa issues were first presented and were then followed with an
overview and stakeholder reactions of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Plan. The
Iowa discussions also benefited from industry insight on enhanced efficiency
fertilizers, seed genetics, and retailer efforts. The summit wrapped up with
discussion on data handling and available resources for 4R education and

In addition to the topics presented throughout the day,
attendees also had to opportunity to hear from two key lunch speakers, EPA
Agricultural Counselor Sarah Bittleman and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill
Northey. Bittleman and Northey both provided a positive message focusing on the
current efforts by agriculture to reduce nutrient losses and the need to
educate others on our efforts.