In the wake of the recent closing of the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is acquiring several important IPNI resources. With these assets, we are strengthening our promotion of 4R Nutrient Stewardship with new staff expertise, enhanced resource offerings and sustained support for agronomic research.
The Foundation for Agronomic Research (FAR), led by John D. Jones is supporting research to advance our understanding of 4R practices to enhance cropping system productivity and reduce nutrient losses into the environment. The Foundation will provide oversight of the industry’s 4R Research Fund, and it will lead efforts to advance resources available to all 4R researchers.
TFI’s advocacy efforts resulted in identification of the 4Rs as a priority research area within the 2018 Farm Bill. This landmark legislation influences the United States Department of Agriculture’s research expenditures including National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant funds, the Agricultural Research Service and the Economic Research Service.
In May, the 4R Fund awarded nearly $2.7 million to five research efforts in California, Arizona, Utah, Arkansas and the South (Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas) for projects focused on almonds, vegetables, tart cherry, potatoes, wheat, corn and corn silage, alfalfa, cotton, rice, and soybean. Those funds were leveraged with $3.2 million from multiple stakeholders to total $5.9 million in research.
Agronomy Publications: A number of legacy IPNI publications including the Certified Crop Adviser Study Guides and the 4R Plant Nutrition Manual are available via TFI’s online storefront. The 23rd edition of the Soil Fertility Manual which serves as a key resource for students in agronomy programs, fertilizer retailers, crop advisers, extension workers will soon be released.
Additionally, education and CEU opportunities in the form of webinars and podcasts will be produced under the Better Crops brand to continue to provide content on current agronomic research topics.
North American Soil Test Survey: With assistance and data from over 60 private and public soil testing laboratories, the survey provides an indicator of the nutrient soil-test status of soils in the United States and Canada. The survey assesses soil acidity and levels of P, K, S, Mg, Zn and Cl. Planning is underway for the 2020 survey. The survey data provides credible information indicating regions where soil fertility is being mined and helps to counter perceptions that all nutrients are overapplied in agricultural soils. The North American Soil Test Survey is currently available at http://soiltest.ipni.net/
Nutrient Use Geographic Information System (NuGIS): TFI will support this online interactive platform that combines data sets and analytics to generate content including an interactive map that shows county- and watershed-level estimates of nutrient balances based on estimates of nutrients applied as fertilizer and livestock manure and nutrients removed by harvested crops. Nutrient balances are indicators of sustainability, offering insight into production and environmental impacts that have been tracked nationally and globally. NuGIS offers insights into local and regional spatial and temporal trends using industry and USDA data sets.
The NuGIS tool is used by many stakeholders including academia, the Chesapeake Bay Modelers, and the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance. It is currently being updated with more recent data sets and for improved functionality. The NuGIS tool is currently available at: http://nugis.ipni.net/
Regional Soil Fertility Conferences: TFI is working with the organizing committees of the North Central Industry-Extension Soil Fertility Conference, the Great Plains Soil Fertility Conference and the Western Nutrient Management Conference to ensure these important meetings receive necessary support for a smooth transition.
We will continue to keep you apprised on the development of these initiatives and resources. In the meantime, if you have questions please reach out to one of the TFI staff below for additional information.
John Jones, Director, Foundation for Agronomic Research
Sally Flis, Ph.D, CCA, Senior Director of Agronomy, TFI
Peyton Harper, Senior Manager Stewardship & Sustainability, TFI
Lara Moody, P.E., Vice President Stewardship & Sustainability, TFI