4R Research Fund


The 4R Research Fund was established by the fertilizer industry to help establish sustainability indicators and environmental impact data for implementation of 4R nutrient stewardship across North America. It provides needed resource support with a focus on measuring and documenting the economic, social and environmental impacts of 4R nutrient stewardship. This effort will help expand the 4Rs beyond being solely an industry effort and towards becoming a viable strategy embraced by other important stakeholders to address cropping system productivity and concerns for nutrient losses into the environment. Further information on 4R Nutrient Stewardship can be found on nutrientstewardship.org.

Funds for the 4R research effort were initially derived from within the fertilizer industry. Specifically, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and the Canadian Fertilizer Institute (CFI) have obtained support from their members. Since creation of the 4R Research Fund, additional agricultural stakeholders have contributed to the effort.

The 4R Research Fund has been established within the Foundation for Agronomic Research (FAR). FAR is a non-profit 501(c)(3) research and education foundation established in 1980 by the Board of Directors of the Potash and Phosphate Institute. Today it is managed by the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI). 

A 4R Fund Management Committee provides oversight of the 4R Research Fund and includes representation from IPNI, TFI and CFI as well as agricultural industry members to ensure that industry priorities are maintained and a consistent 4R approach is executed.  A Technical Advisory Group is working to determine research needs and funding areas and is providing input and support to the Fund Management Committee. The Technical Advisory group includes representatives from industry, academic and government agency experts in agronomy, environmental sciences, sustainability, government relations and communications. 

Research fund contributors are listed below, if you would like to contribute to this effort please contact Lara Moody, Director of Stewardship Programs for TFI ([email protected]).

Request For Proposals

During the fall of 2013, Proposals were accepted for the follwing project areas. Proposals have now been awarded for the Meta-Analyses RFP and  for the Research and Demonstration RFPs.

Meta-Analyses on the Impacts of 4R Nutrient Stewardship 

The objective of this RFP was to solicit literature reviews and syntheses on topics related to 4R Nutrient Stewardship on a national, regional, or cropping system basis utilizing meta‐analyses with stepwise regression, ANOVA, causal analysis, or other statistical methods.  The intent of the projects developed from these proposals is to utilize previous research to establish the impacts of 4R Nutrient Stewardship efforts.  This will avoid needless duplication of previous research and inform industry, academia, and agencies of knowledge gaps that need to be addressed with future research.

Meta-Analyses RFP

Awarded Projects

Research and Demonstrations on Impacts of 4R Nutrient Stewardship 

The objective of this RFP was to solicit proposals for field research and demonstration projects evaluating and promoting the economic, social, and environmental impacts of 4R Nutrient Stewardship. Projects must address at least one of the 4Rs in addition to rate (preferably all four) for optimal agronomic management and impact on local environmental challenges such as water body nitrate levels or P loads and eutrophication. Impact indicators measured should be scalable and include system productivity and environmental effects such as those listed in the projects requested section of this RFP.  Recognition of system and site interactions on the effectiveness of specific 4R practices will be important, including interactions among cultural practices such as rotation, genetics, tillage, nutrient-nutrient interactions, cover crops, etc.

4R Research and Demonstration RFP

Awarded Projects


4R Research Fund Contributors