New partnership supports nutrient stewardship, sustainable farming
The Nature Conservancy and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) announced a new partnership in support of farm practices that result in clean water. The two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at ensuring American agriculture has access to tools to use fertilizer with maximum environmental and economic efficiency.
The Conservancy and TFI announced the agreement at TFI’s 4R Summit in Indianapolis, an event that drew farmers, research scientists, government officials, industry and other stakeholders for two days of information exchange. The agreement lays out a framework for leveraging the organizations’ respective strengths in pursuit of the following mutual goals:
• increase scientific understanding of the benefits of nutrient best management practices to both the farmer and the environment;
• communicate and demonstrate the economic, environmental and social value of nutrient management to the broader agriculture and conservation communities;
• develop and promote outreach activities that advance 4R nutrient management strategies (right source, rate, timing and placement);
• establish metrics that reinforce increased collaboration and cooperation.
“With such deep roots and a strong voice in the agriculture industry, TFI’s commitment to improved water quality is a win-win for both conservation and farmers,” said Larry Clemens, director of The Nature Conservancy’s North America Agriculture Program. “We are pleased to partner with TFI, and together, we will work to empower farmers with the conservation tools they need to grow bountiful crops while improving the health of our rivers, streams and oceans.”
Added TFI President Chris Jahn: “Nutrient stewardship using 4R principles is a top priority for the fertilizer industry. Our industry believes that all plant nutrients must be applied using a measurable and recognized 4R nutrient stewardship framework. Our pursuit of this outcome will get a tremendous boost from partnering with an organization of the Conservancy’s strength and credibility."
The MOU is premised on the mutually held belief that farmers can remain profitable while protecting the environment. The steps outlined in the agreement include watershed level monitoring projects, learning events such as forums, field days and farm level projects, educational materials development and ongoing information sharing between the Conservancy and TFI.
“The science of sustainable agriculture has come a long way in the last decade," Clemens said. "Through this partnership, we will share proven science-based approaches to nutrient management with the farming community and provide technical tools to improve crop production while reducing nutrient runoff into our waterways. Together, TFI and the Conservancy can make a lasting impact on our farms and our environment.”