Farmers David Myerholtz and Lowell Myerholtz
Father and son farmers: Lowell and David Myerholtz. David actively practices 4R stewardship. © Ariana Lindquist

Newsroom

4R Plus Develops Videos to Assist Farmers and Crop Advisers in Nutrient Stewardship and Conservation Decisions

Des Moines, IA

The 4R Plus coalition of agricultural and conservation organizations has developed five educational videos to inform farmers and crop advisers about the practices that build healthier soils, improve water quality and increase crop productivity. These 4R Plus practices combine 4R nutrient stewardship with conservation practices.

The suite of 4R Plus practices described in the videos are important for farmers to consider as they strive to improve their operations and make progress toward reaching the goals set out by the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, according to Greg Wandrey, Iowa agriculture program director for The Nature Conservancy and coordinator of the 4R Plus program.

“Fall is a good time for farmers to assess their fields to determine where conservation practices could be added to reduce erosion, build soil health and improve water quality,” Wandrey said. “As farmers and their advisers work together to make these important management decisions, the videos – combined with their own research – will be a useful tool to determine what practices are most beneficial for their farms.”

Recognizing that every farm operation is unique, the videos explore 4R Plus practices that are effective in every region of the state, including practices that can be used in any field and those best suited for flat or sloping fields. Additionally, there is a video that illustrates the importance of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and a video that features the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship – right source of fertilizer applied at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place.

Videos for farmers and agricultural educators

Groups are encouraged to use these resources to increase awareness and understanding of the practices and how they fit on the landscape and in agricultural production systems.

“These video resources can be used as part of an outreach program or for self-study by farmers, landowners or others interested in learning more about nutrient stewardship and conservation practices,” said Jamie Benning, water quality program manager at Iowa State University.

When visiting 4RPlus.org, farmers, crop advisers and other interested stakeholders will find:

Courses available for CEUs

These videos are also offered in a format that Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs) can use to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs). “A total of 2.5 credits are available after completing all five courses,” said Tim Berkland, strategic agronomy marketing manager at GROWMARK, Inc. and one of the authors of the CCA courses.

The process of completing the courses is simple. “CCAs register on the first screen, then watch the video and answer the 10-question quiz. Upon successful completion of each module, the CCA earns 0.5 credits in either the Soil & Water Management or Nutrient Management category,” said Berkland. “A total of 2.5 credits are available after completing all five courses. The courses are under the Resources tab of the 4R Plus website.”

“We encourage CCAs to use the knowledge they gain from the modules and work with their farmer clients to determine the practices that will retain nutrients in the soil, keep soil from eroding and build the health of soils to improve crop productivity,” said Joel Nelson with Nutrien Ag Solutions and chair of the Iowa CCA Board of Directors.

A goal of speeding adoption of practices

Based on input from CCAs and farmers, 4R Plus stakeholders determined information was needed in the form of courses about nutrient management and conservation practices. “Understanding why Iowa is actively seeking to achieve these goals is as important as providing information on the tools that can be used to reach them,” Nelson explained. “By explaining the ‘why’ to farmers and crop advisers in this format, as well as showcasing the practices available, we hope to speed adoption of the practices.”

To learn more about 4R Plus, visit www.4rplus.org.

About 4R Plus

4R Plus is a nutrient management and conservation program to make farmers aware of practices that bolster production, build soil health and improve water quality in Iowa. The program is guided by a coalition of more than 40 state and national organizations, including agribusinesses, conservation organizations, commodity and trade associations, government agencies and academic institutions. To learn more, visit www.4RPlus.org. Follow @4RPlus on Twitter.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.