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News, Western Canada

Nutrient Guide Adopted by Alta. Environmental Farm Plan

Posted on September 11, 2017

The 4R Nutrient Stewardship guide, developed by Fertilizer Canada, will become a part of Alberta’s Environmental Farm Plan (EFP).

Fertilizer Canada has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Agricultural Research & Extension Council of Alberta (ARECA) that includes integration of 4R Nutrient Stewardship into the province’s EFP.

“We are pleased that ARECA has officially recognized 4R Nutrient Stewardship as a best practice for nutrient management on Alberta farms,” said Garth Whyte, president and CEO of Fertilizer Canada. “By encouraging farmers across the province to use fertilizer effectively, Alberta is joining the front lines in the fight against climate change and ensuring their place among the world’s leaders in sustainable agriculture.”

“ARECA is a long-time supporter and promoter of 4R Nutrient Stewardship,” said Janette McDonald, executive director at ARECA. “There is no doubt this formalized partnership with Fertilizer Canada will aid us in expanding awareness of the program as a best practice for nutrient management planning.”

4R Nutrient Stewardship is a science-based nutrient management that’s applicable to a variety of geographies. The management system was developed on the idea that by applying the right source of fertilizer at the right rate, the right time, and the right place, farmers can ensure nutrients are efficiently taken up by their crops and are not lost to the broader environment. This increases crop productivity and reduces unwanted environmental impacts.

Managed by ARECA, the Alberta’s EFP self-assessment process encourages producers to assess and identify environmental risks on their farms and take action to improve their practices.


An EFP video on maintaining riparian health.

“While Alberta’s EFPs already include a section on nutrient risks, adding information about the positive long-term benefits of 4R Nutrient Stewardship will expand awareness among the province’s farmers,” said Paul Watson, EFP Director at ARECA.

As growers in Alberta adopt 4R Nutrient Stewardship under the Alberta EFP, the acres they manage will be counted under Fertilizer Canada’s 4R Designation program, which tracks the amount of Canadian farmland using 4R Nutrient Stewardship to boost productivity and conserve resources. Fertilizer Canada aims to capture 20 million 4R acres by 2020—representing 25 per cent of Canadian farmland—to demonstrate to the world the commitment Canada’s agriculture sector has made to adopt climate-smart and sustainable farm practices.

Nutrients applied through agricultural process have time-delayed effects on the environment. Effective management is key to reducing nitrogen legacies.

In May, Fertilizer Canada released a 4R Nutrient Stewardship sustainability report.

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