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Association pledges to promote soil healthy practices

Many agricultural groups continue to pledge their support for a nutrient and conservation stewardship program. An Iowa association shares why they decided to partner with CF Industries and The Nature Conservancy to protect and enhance Iowa soils.

The Agribusiness Association of Iowa (AAI) pledged their support for 4R Plus Tuesday at its Agribusiness Showcase and Conference. Shawn Richmond serves as director of environmental technology for AAI. Richmond says AAI joined 4R Plus to increase awareness of nutrient and stewardship practices, as well as increase scale and adoption of such practices.

“Ultimately, we want to see an approach where we can go forward in agriculture, and  maintain productivity and profitability while simultaneously improving water quality,” Richmond said.

Richmond further describes AAI’s role advocating for 4R Plus.

“My role with 4R Plus is to help course (the program) forward, so we can ascribe to the practices outlined,” Richmond said. “With the “4R” side of nutrient management and the “Plus” side this campaign adds to expand into other conservation practices that can help build soil health, bring profitability back to the farm and ultimately, help achieve water quality goals in the state.”

Richmond plans to engage in conversations with AAI members such as certified crop advisors and agricultural retailers. He believes these two groups play a critical role in further moving and implementing nutrient and conservation practices.

“Certified crop advisors (CCAs) and Ag retailers have an unprecedented footprint across the state of Iowa. They meet with every farmer in about every field every year. If we can help leverage that resource to provide increased information and resource awareness about these practices, it can ultimately have a big impact in the state of Iowa,” Richmond said.

CF Industries, along with The Nature Conservancy, Tuesday unveiled 4R Plus. The program focuses on improving soil health by following the 4R nutrient stewardship practices – right source, right rate, right time and right place. It also encompasses conservation practices designed to boost production, increase soil resiliency, reduce erosion and runoff, and improve water quality.