In what’s being called an educational campaign, the Province of Manitoba, along with the Canadian Fertilizer Institute and Keystone Agricultural Producers have jointly signed a memorandum of understanding regarding improved fertilizer use.
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship memorandum includes an annual $50,000 commitment from the fertilizer institute for three years, and the use of that money will be directed by an advisory committee that has yet to be established.
Initiatives from the funding will include information development and distribution, development of training material for farmers, and field trials.
Announced during Manitoba Ag Days at the Keystone Centre on Tuesday, Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn was flanked by members of the partnering organizations to sign the understanding, which they have billed as being both economically beneficial to farmers, while also decreasing farming’s environmental impact.
The campaign will encourage fertilizer efficiency, which it hopes will minimize nutrient loss and leakage into the air and water.
The program, which will include online components for farmers to become certified on various levels, will be a gradual process, according to KAP president Doug Chorney.
“The last thing you want to do is make a farmer think that it’s impossible to meet these standards,” he said.
“We have a really unique level of co-operation between industry, farmers and government, and I think this is the way we’re going to move things forward and make change really happen on the ground on farms here in Manitoba.”
CFI board member Lindsay Kaspick of Koch Fertilizer Canada said the goal of the project will be for up-to-date research to get to farmers.
“Our goal for this partnership is to communicate to farmers the benefits of the four Rs (right source, right rate, right time, right place) and to increase the number of farmers who use these best management practices,” he said.
The aim of the program isn’t necessarily to cull fertilizer use, but to “use it at the right rate, at the right time, for better use,” Kaspick said.
Kostyshyn said he sees Tuesday’s announcement as one of many pilot projects to be used as educational tools in the future.
“Farmers in this province have consistently shown interest in learning the new techniques and making improvements,” he said during the announcement.