COLUMBUS – The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program announced the expansion of its voluntary program statewide in Ohio at the “4Rs for a Growing Ohio” launch event Dec. 9 in Radnor. Effective Jan. 1, all Ohio-based agricultural retailers and nutrient service providers will be able to participate in efforts to improve the quality of Ohio’s waterways.
“Ohio’s agricultural retailers and nutrient service providers have shown great commitment to improving water quality in the Lake Erie Basin,” said John Oster, vice chairman of the Nutrient Stewardship Council. “Through their efforts and the eagerness of eligible participants outside of the basin, we are now able to expand the program across Ohio, allowing for statewide participation in this voluntary program.”
More than 150 people attended the launch event to learn more about the program’s expansion, including farmers, retailers, public officials and local media.
The event provided insight to program requirements and offered next steps for facilities looking to become certified in the program, which is passed on the 4R framework, utilizing the right fertilizer source at the right rate, the right time and in the right place. Attendees heard from farmers and certified retailers currently participating in the program in the Lake Erie Basin, as well as representatives from the Nutrient Stewardship Council and agriculture industry leaders and stakeholders.
The program also featured a public officials panel consisting of David Daniels, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture; Craig Butler, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency; and Mike Bailey, chief of the Division of Parks and Watercraft at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
The Nutrient Stewardship Council presented its Distinguished Service Award to Carrie Vollmer-Sanders of The Nature Conservancy. The award recognizes an individual who has worked hard to ensure the success of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program.
Vollmer-Sanders saw the opportunity for the agriculture industry to adopt sustainable nutrient management practices to ensure long-term water quality benefits in Lake Erie. She worked to develop partnerships with a broad base of stakeholders to develop the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program. Vollmer-Sanders was recently named Nutrient Strategy Manager for The Nature Conservancy’s North America Agriculture Program, to focus on reducing nutrient runoff in the Mississippi, Great Lakes, Chesapeake and Everglades water basins.
“Carrie has put countless hours toward ensuring the program’s success,” said Andrew Allman, director of business operations at the Ohio AgriBusiness Association and executive director of the Nutrient Stewardship Council. “There’s no one more deserving of the Distinguished Service Award.”