COLUMBUS, Ohio (April 14, 2014) – Agricultural retailers and nutrient service providers in the Western Lake Erie Basin are encouraged to join a comprehensive, long-term effort to improve Lake Erie’s water quality by registering for the newly-launched 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program. Those committing by April 18 will receive a discounted rate at half the cost of the program.
Despite the many actions farmers have taken in recent years to improve soil health and reduce fertilizer runoff, nutrients leaving fields and entering streams and lakes continue to contribute to water quality problems in Lake Erie.
Officially launched March 18, the new program provides a consistent, recognized standard for agricultural retailers to adopt proven best practices in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio where surrounding waters drain into Lake Erie. The science-based framework for plant nutrition management and sustained crop production is based upon the 4Rs, which refers to using the Right Source of Nutrients at the Right Rate and Right Time in the Right Place.
More than 20 retailers and service providers have registered to participate in the voluntary program since its inception last month. In addition to joining a responsible effort to improve water resources for all, there is additional incentive for new commitments.
Those registering and committing to participate in the program by April 18 will receive a discounted rate of $300 per facility to do so. The cost per facility for those registering after April 18 will be $600 per facility.
“We’re excited about the initial interest in the program, and encourage those interested to check out our website and commit to participate,” said Chris Henney, president and CEO of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA), which administers the program. “It’s critical retailers and their grower customers adopt best practices to realize long-term improvements.”
The program outlines an initial three-year plan for certification with goals to continually adapt and improve upon new advancements, including a third-party evaluation or audit every three years to ensure 4R adoption has taken place.
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program is governed and guided by the Nutrient Stewardship Council, a diverse set of stakeholders from business, government, university and non-governmental sectors with a common goal of maintaining agricultural productivity while also improving the quality of Lake Erie and its contributing watersheds. The program is administered by the Ohio AgriBusiness Association.