Pennsylvania Agriculture Commits to 4R Nutrient Stewardship

01st Oct 2012 4R Partners,Northeast,

In July 2012, PennAg Industries Association made the decision to form an affiliate within PennAg to be designated as the “PA 4Rs Alliance.” The Alliance was initiated in the dialogue for the revised NRCS nutrient management (590) standard with Denise Coleman, PA NRCS State Conservationist, her staff, and Dean Collamer, Growmark FS agronomist and PennAg Board member, who chairs the PA NRCS nutrient subcommittee.

The goals for the Alliance are for PennAg members and other PA agricultural stakeholders to collectively work with farmers to deliver science-based systems that improve crop productivity through increased nutrient use efficiency and to reduce losses of nutrients to the environment.  Jennifer Reed-Harry (PennAg) embarked on a discovery process to focus these goals and gain support among farm groups, government agencies, industry and CCAs. 

PennAg received specific expressions of need from farmers to form the Alliance. Farmers said the environmental debate has moved the public dialogue away from crop productivity, farm profitability, and food security and that they need more knowledge on field-specific 4Rs management tools. The government agency stakeholders were very enthusiastic and supportive of “4Rs are what all farmers should be doing.”

Moving Forward

1. The Alliance, with PA NRCS and Penn State Extension, is developing a communication strategy. The strategy will identify and publicize farm 4Rs success stories and is designing 4Rs fact sheets to be utilized in the EQIP & CSP application/contract process to elevate awareness of 4Rs practices for financial and technical assistance.

2. The Alliance is working with Conservation District nutrient management technicians, private crop consultants, and fertilizer retailers to create awareness for 4Rs crop management systems to increase nutrient use efficiency.

3. The Agronomic Products Council (PennAg) Executive Committee will meet on October 9 to approve a 2013 Alliance budget and leadership.