Farming 4R Land takes root in Alberta

Farmers are being given the opportunity to get some free information on how to develop their own plan to protect and harness the power of their soil.

Farming 4R Land is an initiative aimed at protecting soil quality and growing agriculture.

The Canadian Fertilizer Institute has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions, CCEMC and AgriInnovations to educate growers about 4R nutrient stewardship.  The 4R’s stand for Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time and Right Place in regards to fertilizer application. The MOU was signed at FarmTech in January.

Rural Roots Canada sat down with Catherine King, Director of Programs for Nutrients for Life and Kristian Stephens, Director of Stewardship for the Canadian Fertilizer Institute about the program and their upcoming workshops here in Alberta.

The Farming 4R Land program has been given money by the partners to carry out workshops and engage farmers about the 4Rs.

“We have the funding until the end of April to get all of the programs up and running and we hope then we can get continued funding to host more farmer workshops and get more information out on best management practices in Alberta,” said Catherine King Director of Programs for Nutrients for Life

Four FREE workshops have been scheduled for this week across Alberta.

Tuesday, February 19th – Lethbridge – farming4rland-lethbridge.eventbrite.ca

Wednesday, February 20th – High River – farming4rland-highriver.eventbrite.ca

Thursday, February 21st – Airdrie – farming4rland-airdrie.eventbrite.ca

Friday, February 22nd – Leduc – farming4rland-leduc.eventbrite.ca

“The workshops are going to be led by Dan Heaney who has a PHD in soil science, who helped CFI create an online training course.  He’s going to go through the online training course with them.  He’s going to have them fill out a survey on their best management practices and then give them helpful hints on how to implement a 4R nutrient stewardship plan on their farms because not every farm is going to be the same for the 4R’s they’re site specific so we want to make sure every farmer out there has a plan they can use for year’s to come,” said King.

The program also has an online community at collaborase.com/farming4rland to allow producers the opportunity to share their thoughts and learn from others using the 4R approach year-round.

Stephens tells Rural Roots Canada so far everything has gone good.

We’re just launching the program here, but for our principles we’ve had a Memorandum of Understanding with the Province’s of Manitoba and Prince Edward Island as well as farm lobby groups.  They have been very receptive to it and we continue to work on communicating the 4Rs to producer groups.

Even though the program is in its infancy in Alberta, they had 105 surveys filled out at FarmTech2013, which they are taking as a positive sign that farmers want best management practices for the soil on their farms.

King says 4R’s were derived by the International Plant Nutrition Institute.

“Terry Roberts and the studies done by the International Plant Nutrition Institute told them this was the word they had to get out to farmers. The best part of the 4R’s is that it doesn’t just apply to the farm community, it can be used in home-gardening as well,” said King.

“Farming 4R Land is about creating a community of interest to support and encourage crop farmers to adopt and implement Nitrous Oxide Emission Reduction Protocol (NERP) and 4R Nutrient Stewardship Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs),” said Stephens.