CAAR partners with Fertilizer Canada to bring 4R Nutrient Stewardship to Manitoba.

CAAR takes great pride in representing the interests of agri-retailers across Canada and where they live, and it continues to do so through its collaboration with Fertilizer Canada to help advance 4R Nutrient Stewardship adoption in Manitoba.

CAAR has recently joined the Manitoba 4R Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) committee, which was formed to set and achieve goals involving the 4R program in the province. They recently participated in their first meeting with the committee this past spring.

“CAAR has been a long-time supporter of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program and is becoming more involved in supporting specific initiatives,” says Delaney Ross Burtnack, president and CEO of CAAR. “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to join the 4R MOU committee to discuss 4R programming and promotions in Manitoba.”

CAAR also recently joined two additional meetings with the 4R Metrics & Adoption Working Group. According to Burtnack, this working group is developing an agronomy-based implementation guide to help individuals with in-field incorporation of 4R practices by region, including the Prairies, southern Ontario and Atlantic Canada. Once the guide is established, the working group will have a basis to determine the impacts – like nutrient loss potential – of various practices.

A number of CAAR members are participating first-hand in the development of this guide. CAAR is primarily involved with communications support, ensuring that retailers unable to participate in the working group will remain informed of the process and have the opportunity to share their feedback through CAAR.

“Fertilizer Canada is CAAR’s closest partner as we work together on many initiatives related to fertilizer safety and stewardship,” says Burtnack. “Both CAAR and Fertilizer Canada recognize the pivotal role agri-retailers play as the go-to expert for Canadian farmers. Working together ensures that messaging related to fertilizer safety and stewardship is clear and accessible, enabling retailers to continue providing fertilizer-related expertise to their customers.”

Engaging the Industry

4R Nutrient Stewardship is a country-wide initiative led by Fertilizer Canada. It advocates that sustainable nutrient management can be achieved using the ‘4Rs’ – using the right fertilizer source, at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place.

Amanda Giamberardino, manager of 4R Nutrient Stewardship at Fertilizer Canada, says a multi-stakeholder effort is required to successfully carry out the 4R program.

“Our industry recognizes that it’s not something that can be achieved by one group. It requires the co-operated effort of many stakeholders because agriculture touches all those stakeholders,” she says, adding that Fertilizer Canada recognizes the reach of CAAR’s large agri-retail network and the value it brings to the collaboration process.

“They’re based in Manitoba and we feel that CAAR can contribute a lot to the Manitoba MOU since they have members who are based in Manitoba. We are working with those members to adopt and implement 4R Nutrient Stewardship in the province.”

Growing Awareness

The Manitoba MOU was signed in 2013, signifying both the beginning of a three-year partnership between Fertilizer Canada, the Government of Manitoba and Keystone Agricultural Producers, and the launch of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program in the province. It was renewed in 2015 by the partners to reaffirm their commitment to continuing the project.

Since the MOU was first signed, Giamberardino says they’ve noticed a much greater awareness of 4R Nutrient Stewardship among producers. By working with their partners, they were able to reach out to producers and offer field tours, demonstration plots and province-specific training like their eLearning courses.

“We’re starting to see some implementation happening where producers are looking at trying out 4R best management practices that are specific to their provinces. They are able to see some benefits with 4R practices compared to what might be a ‘business as usual’ practice or a practice that might have less of a visible economic, social and environmental benefit,” she says.

Burtnack also anticipates a widespread positive impact as awareness spreads through initiatives like CAAR’s collaboration with Fertilizer Canada on the Manitoba MOU.

“As more stakeholders support and participate in the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program, the positive messaging and continuous improvement from this collaboration will have far-reaching benefits, both inside and outside the agricultural sector,” she says.

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