More than 400,000 people in Ohio went without water when a nutrient-fueled algal bloom erupted in Lake Erie and contaminated drinking water supplies in 2014. Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated case. Each year, nutrients from farms, sewage treatment plants and other sources are washed into waterways, threatening drinking water supplies, harming aquatic life, raising water treatment costs, and contributing to hypoxic zones (aka dead zones) — areas in the ocean of such low oxygen concentration that animal life suffocates and dies. One of the largest dead zones forms in the Gulf of Mexico every spring.
By adopting the 4Rs philosophy—a science-based approach to apply the right source of fertilizer at the right rate and right time in the right place— farmers and agribusinesses are doing their part to help reduce nutrient runoff.