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Ontario farmers making progess for water quality

July 7, 2016 - Ontario represents over 12 million acres of Canada's most viable and productive farmland and Ontario's agriculture industry has been a leader in nutrient management planning for crop production using 4R Nutrient Stewardship (Right Source at the Right Rate, Right Time, and Right Place) as a method to improve the health of Ontario's watersheds.

To date, more than 113,000 acres of farmland in Ontario can be attributed to 4R Nutrient Stewardship, with roughly 67 per cent of farms applied some form of this nutrient planning and management method. 

"Introducing subtle changes to the way a crop is fertilized using 4R Nutrient Stewardship can not only produce higher yields, but also takes measurable steps to benefit Ontario watersheds, including the great lakes," says Henry Denotter, an Ontario 4R demonstration farm participant.

As the leading international standard for on-farm nutrient application, farmers and agri-retailers alike are embracing 4R Nutrient Stewardship.

"Ontario's agri-retailers are committed to sustainable agriculture.  4R Nutrient Stewardship allows agri-retailers to adopt a science-based framework that can benefit both the environment and crop production systems," says Dave Buttenham, CEO of the Ontario Agri Business Association (OABA). "This practical tool considers not only the agronomic aspects of soil and crop nutrition but also helps to accomplish enhanced farm profitability and accountability." 

As a result of the Ontario Memorandum of Cooperation, formalized in 2015 the province has:

  • Successfully implemented 20 4R demonstration farms, with four currently in practice
  • Reached more than 115 Ontario growers through 4R Nutrient Stewardship workshops
  • Enrolled 21 agri-retailers in OABA's voluntary 4R "Designated Acres" pilot program; and
  • Launched the Ontario Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) 4R Nutrient Management Specialty Certification (65 of Ontario's CCAs are registered to write the certification exam in August 2016)
"The strength of this relationship lies in the shared-value partnership approach. Collectively, each organization brings expertise which helps the province of Ontario meet its environmental goals while enhancing the economic benefits for farmers in these highly productive farming zones. Together, we are a part of the solution," says Garth Whyte, president & CEO of Fertilizer Canada.

Ontario has embraced 4R Nutrient Stewardship as a valuable tool for meeting agricultural and environmental goals and is recognized as a part of the Ontario Government's strategy to restore, protect and conserve water quality and ecosystem health. 

"Sustainable water quality and land use are a priority for Ontarians," says Jeff Leal, Ontario's agriculture minister. "The agriculture industry understands how important a healthy Great Lakes system is to maintain agriculture now and in the future. The Government of Ontario has embraced 4R Nutrient Stewardship as a tool to support the province's agricultural and environmental goals. This support is amplified by partners in the agriculture industry, who have undertaken efforts to adopt and promote 4R Nutrient Stewardship in Ontario."

Progress on 4R Nutrient Stewardship in Ontario will be shared at the upcoming 4R Demonstration Tour Field Days departing from Chatham, Ont. on July 27th and July 28th 2016. For more information about the tour days in Ontario and about implementing 4R Nutrient Stewardship in Ontario, visit fertilizercanada.ca.