New 4R Program is Good News for Florida

New 4R Program is Good News for Florida

The first Florida 4R Field Day saw the announcement of the launch of the new Florida 4R Certification Program to improve and protect water quality.

Florida is a big ag state with a large, growing population and finite sources of fresh water. Those factors combined mean that water quality is of great importance in The Sunshine State, so it’s welcome news that the new Florida 4R Certification Program, aimed at improving and protecting water quality, is off to a strong start. The new program was announced at the first Florida 4R Field Day, held November 22. The 4Rs are an important part of nutrient stewardship that those in Florida’s ag industry can utilize to protect water quality and improve their ag operation’s bottom line.

Details of the Florida 4R Field Day

The Florida 4R Field Day brought together over one hundred farmers, crop advisors, leaders of state regulatory agencies, and elected officials to learn about the 4Rs.  I spoke at the field day as a Florida 4R Advocate about nutrient stewardship, as Griffin Fertilizer’s Rob Watson and citrus grower Glen Beck were a retailer/grower pair to be recognized with a 4R Nutrient Stewardship Award by The Fertilizer Institute in 2018. Past 4R advocates spoke as well about why the 4Rs are important on the farm, as did the leaders of invested agencies and organizations, such as Dr. Sally Flis, with The Fertilizer Institute; Chris Pettit, the FDACS Director of Ag Water Policy; and David Royal, who oversees the program for The Nature Conservancy.

The 4Rs Explained

The 4Rs provide a framework for improving a farm’s sustainability and environmental footprint and increasing production and profitability. They refer to using nutrients at the Right Source, the Right Rate, the Right Time, and the Right Place. Using the best fertilizer source for the crop, applying it at the optimal rate, and when and where the crop is best able to utilize the nutrients means a reduction in the amount of unused fertilizers leaving the farm, an increase in crop quality and production, and savings on the cost of fertilizer inputs.  

Details of the new Florida 4R Certification Program will soon be forthcoming, and there’s no doubt it will be a boon for both the Florida ag industry and the state’s water conservation efforts.

This column is sponsored by Griffin Fertilizer Co., and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers.

BIO: Mike Roberts is the Vice President of the Frostproof, Fla.-based Griffin Fertilizer Co. Roberts joined the company in November 2011. He has spent the majority of his career in the fertilizer/agchem industry. Roberts earned a Bachelor of Science degree in citrus production from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. For more information, visit griffinfertilizer.com.