Growers throughout the country demonstrate how sound nutrient stewardship practices pay with increased yields, better soils and better ecosystems.

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) has named five American farm operations as 4R Advocates for 2014. The national winners represent farmers and fertilizer retailers across the nation dedicated to the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship — using the right nutrient source, at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place.

The 2014 4R Advocates, along with the retailers that nominated them, are:

  • George Brand, Brand Dairy Farm, Waterloo, Ind., operates a 2,500-acre row crop operation and dairy farm. Brand was nominated by Terry Bechman of The Andersons, Inc., also of Waterloo. Variable-rate fertilizer application, plant tissue sampling and erosion control are but three examples of how the Brands boost yield, while protecting groundwater.
  • Dennis Iott operates Iott Seed Farms, Kalkasa, Mich., a 1,350-acre operation that includes 450 acres dedicated to seed potato production for farmers who grow potatoes for potato chip makers. Dennis and his brother, Greg, were nominated by Dale Dosenberry of Wilbur-Ellis Company, Edmore, Mich. Extensive use of interactive field technology and soil testing have enabled the Iotts to produce more uniform potatoes, while using fertilizer efficiently.
  • Chris VonHolten, Walnut, Ill., who operates a 1,025-acre corn and soybean operation, uses site-specific, precision agriculture to ensure the right amount of fertilizer is delivered to the right place so it can be utilized efficiently by his corn and soybeans. Malcolm Stambaugh of Ag View FS, also of Walnut, nominated VonHolten for the award.
  • The Werries, who operates Werries Farms, LLC, a 3,800-acre corn and soybean operation in  Chapin, Ill., employ soil sampling, variable-rate application and cover crops to improve nutrient uptake and retention. Verne “Tinker” Bader of Bader Agricultural Service in Meredosia, Ill., nominated John and Ruth Werries, along with their son, Dean and daughter-in-law, Karen, for the award.
  • Clint Wortman, co-owner of Jackson-Wortman, LLC, Quitman, Ga., uses soil testing, plant tissue testing and variable-rate fertilizer application to improve his yields and soil conditions on his 3,500-acre cattle and crop farm. A.J. Radford of Crop Protection Services in Moultrie, Ga., nominated Clint and his brother, Henry, for the award.

The winners and the retailers who nominated are awarded an expense-paid trip to the 2014 Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas, February 27- March 1, where they will be honored at an awards banquet hosted by TFI. The 4R Advocates will also be part of TFI’s outreach efforts to promote nutrient management practices that benefit farmers and their communities as well as the environment.

The 4R Grower Advocate program is just one facet of a high-priority campaign to raise awareness and adoption of 4R nutrient stewardship practices.

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is the leading voice of the nation’s fertilizer industry. Tracing its roots back to 1883, TFI’s membership includes fertilizer producers, wholesalers, retailers and trading firms. TFI’s full-time staff, based in Washington, D.C., serves its members through legislative, educational, technical, economic information and public communication programs.