Farmers know that being efficient with fertilizer is economically sound and required, environmentally. The problem is, that oftentimes the process is not quantified, so, the public doesn’t have any idea about the kind of stewardship already taking place on farms. There is also a need for more data so that best practices can be benchmarked, and farmers can talk to other farmers about what works and what doesn’t.
These are the concerns that Federated Co-op (FCL) wants to address with the “Grown with Purpose” program. According to Glenda Clezy, grow team advisor with FCL, the program is a farm-facing sustainability platform based on the 4Rs of fertilizer use – right source, right rate, right time, right place. “We are working with Fertilizer Canada … to help growers improve sustainability and profitability on their farm,” says Clezy.
Fertilizer Canada says that implementing its 4R Nutrient Stewardship can result in benefits of up to $87/acre. Implementation of the sustainable practices can also result in a 15 to 25 per cent decrease in nitrous oxide emissions. FCL’s program has been created in conjunction with Fertilizer Canada, which delivers 4R stewardship programming, training, and information across Canada. Clezy says that data and feedback will be shared back and forth with the organization.
The program has several goals and objectives:
- For farmers to be able to access tools that makes their farms more efficient and sustainable;
- To measure the best practices already employed by farmers and use that data to inform sustainability practices and broader agriculture policy; and,
- To use the information gathered to reassure consumers that that farmers are good stewards of the land and prove that practices are environmentally sound.
“The vast majority of producers are doing the right thing on their farms in terms of protecting the environment (and) managing fertility,” Clezy says. But it is not enough to do good, the good must be measured and shared with other stakeholders, she says.
FCL is in a unique position because not only do they interact directly with farmers, they also interact directly with consumers. This program is their way of bridging the gap between the two groups.
Watch the entire interview with Glenda Clezy, FCL grow team advisor, below.