White mist rises from a green forested ridge that runs behind a farm field. Yellowing late season corn stands in the foreground.
Regenerative Agriculture TNC works with Delmarva agribusinesses and farmers to promote nutrient practices that follow the 4Rs--right source, right rate, right time, right place. © Matt Kane / TNC


Delaware Maryland 4R Alliance Hold First Ever Data Driven 4R Field Day

Farmers, agribusiness professionals and conservation partners attended the Alliance's first ever event in northern Maryland.

The Delaware-Maryland 4R Alliance held a successful field day on September 9, 2021 at Indian Springs Farm. For their first event in northern Maryland, 46 attendees, made up of farmers, agribusiness professionals, as well as government and conservation partners, heard from a strong line-up of speakers and were introduced to a new voucher program.

Farmer owner Lee McDaniels welcomed attendees alongside Quintin Cornwell with Harford Soil Conservation District and Rob Weaver with NRCS. They discussed the importance of good nutrient management and the opportunities of cost-share available. 

Laura Starr with The Nature Conservancy described the new voucher program which is aimed at supporting farmers to use their farm data to determine the best practices to improve their bottom line and the environment.

From Willard Agri-Service, Tyler Adams shared different options to maximize yields by using on-farm data to prescribe application methods and enhance nutrient efficiency. Willard Agri-Service had a sprayer on site to demonstrate the different capabilities of their custom applicator. 

The Mill’s Timothy Hushon presented Decision Ag Solutions: Empowering growers through data driven decisions. Tim and his team are available to support growers to make data-driven decisions and find solutions that impact a profitable yield through numerous services such as agronomic consultations, N (nitrogen) modeling, and 4R nutrient practices. 

Next, attendees were able to absorb the different equipment technology programs on today’s market and how they increase efficiency thanks to Atlantic Tractor. On display was a new John Deere N530 air seeder in combination with the new John Deere 7R250 tractor that uses satellite tracking to monitor multiple automatic functions such as auto-track, auto path, exact apply and exact merge, that ensure proper application rates of seed, fertilizer and high productivity returns.

To wrap up the event, Mike Kurek, a 2019 National 4R Farmer, was able to relate to the farmers in attendance. Mike and his wife Trish own and operate Susquehanna Orchards while growing row crops on 300 acres. Mike is a strong 4R farmer; applying the right source of nutrients, at the right time, in the right place and at the right rate. Mike saw an outstanding impact when implementing advance nutrient practices. Through data collection, Mike was able to use models to predict N usage.

Farmers who enjoyed the first ever Data Driven Field Day were introduced to a new voucher program provided by the Delaware-Maryland 4R Alliance through a Chesapeake Bay Trust Grant. With data management often being a barrier to farmers’ decisions to implement new 4R management practices, the voucher is here to assist. 

The project proposes to provide technical assistance directly to farmers, to help them understand the language and data used to identify and implement precision ag and nutrient management practices and enabling them to make a more informed decision on their practices. Ten farmers in Harford and Cecil County will receive a $1,000 voucher that can be used to pay a participating agribusiness advisor to provide individual coaching including data compilation, analysis, planning and guidance on how to implement practices on their farm. For more details or to enroll please contact Amy Jacobs at ajacobs@tnc.org or visit the voucher page on the 4R website 4rmidatlantic.com.

The Delaware-Maryland 4R Alliance is a collaboration between agribusinesses, farmers, government agencies, conservation groups and scientists. The Alliance works to ensure that every nutrient application on Delaware and Maryland farms is consistent with the 4Rs—the right nutrient source, applied at the right rate, at the right time, in the right place. The Alliance is focused on increasing implementation of 4R practices to benefit the economic, environmental and social well-being of our region and our farmers. The DE-MD 4R Alliance was founded by The Nature Conservancy and the Delaware-Maryland Agribusiness Association in 2015. Visit the DE-MD 4R Alliance website or Facebook page to learn more.

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 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners—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.