Reasons to be Thankful for 4R Advocates

I’m grateful to everyone who demonstrates professionalism in Florida’s fields, groves, nurseries, and ranches. One opportunity to say thanks to nutrient management standouts (during the holiday season) will be during the inaugural 4R Field Day planned for Nov. 22. Starting at 10 a.m. in the barn at Jones Potato Farm in Parrish, this event will feature Florida’s four nationally recognized nutrient stewards. In exchange for their stories (we won’t make them sing for their supper), they and all the attendees will be treated to a pre-Thanksgiving feast catered by a local Future Farmers of America chapter.

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Florida’s national 4R Advocates — Alan Jones (2013), Gary Reeder (2017), Glenn Beck (2018), and Dustin Grooms (2019) will share their stories of integrating the 4Rs – the right source of nutrients at the right rate, right place, and right time – into their farming practices. And here’s a shout-out to their fertilizer consultants — Nutrien Ag Solutions’ Dennis Coleman (Jones/Reeder), Griffin Fertilizer’s Rob Watson, and Chemical Dynamics’ Jerrod Parker whose work helped these Florida growers earn this honor.

Sponsors for the event and the complimentary lunch are The Nature Conservancy, The Fertilizer Institute, Florida Fertilizer & Agrichemical Association, and The Mosaic Company.

I know we have many growers and crop consultants who practice the 4Rs (Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place). FFAA and Florida’s Certified Crop Advisers program are working to give these dedicated stewards the recognition they deserve. As such, FFAA promotes the opportunity for professionals to earn a 4R Nutrient Management Specialist (NMS) certification from the International Certified Crop Adviser (ICCA) program. This specialty certification builds upon the nutrient, soil, and water components of the International CCA Certification. Earning this specialty certification demonstrates the crop adviser’s proficiency in working with the 4R concept and building it into nutrient management planning.

Passing this challenging exam is one more way Florida’s ag community can demonstrate we are committed to growing high-quality crops, raising healthy livestock, and protecting our Florida waters.

The format of the 4R NMS exam is 50 multiple-choice questions and may include scenarios where the examinee will be provided data tables and figures to use to derive the correct answer.

A pre-requisite to the 4R NMS certification is the Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) certification. The CCA exams are now web-based and will be monitored by a proctor via the examinee’s webcam. Register by Dec. 13 to take the exam in 2020. You can find registration information for the CCA exams and the specialty certifications at certifiedcropadviser.org/exams.

The ICCA promotes this certification stating: “The 4R Nutrient Management Program considers the integration of agronomic practices with economic analysis and environmental interaction, all considered at the local field level, as well as social impacts for the community, and for downstream stakeholders.”

The ICCA adds that the 4R NMS certification is not a substitute for federal and state nutrient management rules and programs.