Ohio farmers and The Fertilizer Institute are doing their part to improve water quality in Western Lake Erie by using innovative farm practices.
While potential causes of the algal bloom in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) are many — farmers and the fertilizer industry are working hard to protect and improve the waters of Lake Erie by supporting education, research, and outreach on innovative farm practices.
Innovative farm practices known as the 4R’s — use of the right fertilizer source at the right rate, the right time and in the right place — are the foundation for science-based management of all nutrients – whether from commercial or organic sources.
Because there is no single practice or “silver bullet” that will prevent nutrients from being lost to the environment, farming practices must account for all four “Rs” (right fertilizer source, right application rate, timing and placement of nutrients).
The Fertilizer Institute and other key stakeholders developed the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program for fertilizer retailers and agronomic service providers.
This program is helping farmers manage nutrients on nearly 2 million acres in the Western Lake Erie Basin. The Certification Program is a sign of the fertilizer industry’s commitment to sustainable use of its products.
Even the USDA encourages farmers to use 4R Nutrient Stewardship to reduce runoff and improve water quality.
Know the Facts
- In 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) added 4Rs to its revised Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Practice Standard Code 590. This standard for managing farm nutrients encourages farmers to employ new technologies to reduce runoff and improve water quality.
- In 2014, the agriculture community in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) launched the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program for fertilizer retailers and agronomic service providers. The program includes training and education, monitoring and field implementation of 4R practices, and culminates with third-party audits.
- To date, 37 4R Certified retail or agronomic service providers provide audited 4R recommendations to 5,900 customers farming on 1,900,000 acres in the WLEB watershed.
- The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program for fertilizer retailers and agronomic service providers is helping farmers manage nutrients on nearly 2 million acres in the Western Lake Erie Basin.