AGRIS Co-operative earns 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification in Ontario and Canada

CHATHAM, Ontario, March 26, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Fertilizer Canada has announced that AGRIS Co-operative’s Cottam branch, is one of only two agriculture nutrient service providers to recently achieve certified status in Ontario and Canada.

The voluntary program certifies nutrient service providers in the Western Lake Erie Basin and across Ontario that apply or make recommendations on fertilizers in accordance with 4R Nutrient Stewardship principles – which refers to using the Right Source of nutrients at the Right Rate, at the Right Time and in the Right Place. Program participants must go through an independent, third-party audit of 37 standards to demonstrate they not only understand 4R principles, but also follow them.

“We are committed as a co-operative to the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program and very honoured to be only one of two retailers in Canada to achieve certified status,” says John Nooyen, AGRIS Co-operative board president. “Our board of directors unanimously adopted and supports the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Program and we proudly display our own AGRIS 4R Nutrient Stewardship Pledge at each of our locations. Now that Cottam has achieved certified status, we are planning to have the rest of our locations certified too,” added Nooyen. 

“Becoming 4R certified was a way for us to provide added value to our grower customers,” says Alex Michinski, Essex area manager with AGRIS Co-operative. “Because the program gives us the tools to provide growers with 4R 'best management practices' they can be confident in,” added Michinski.

AGRIS has demonstrated a proud history of providing both leadership and environmental stewardship. In 2017 AGRIS Co-operative was presented with the prestigious “Environmental Respect Award” from DuPont, which recognizes environmental stewardship and sustainability through employee training, education, product safety, waste minimization and emergency response readiness. In 2016 AGRIS Co-operative was presented with the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Ag Retailer of the year award by the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers. This award recognizes AGRIS Co-operative’s Canadian leadership in adoption of 4R Nutrient Stewardship, “Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time and Right Place.”

Also, in 2016 AGRIS Co-operative crop sales specialist Chris Snip, received the GROWMARK System’s “Endure 4R Advocate Award.” This award recognizes crop sales specialists for their work with farmers, using the 4R’s approach to nutrient stewardship, assisting growers with fertilizer management and implementing a nitrogen monitoring program.

In 2015 AGRIS Co-operative started doing Farmland Health Checkup as part of a pilot project introduced through The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association. This program has a certified crop advisor working together with the farmer and looking at “best management practices” on specific fields on their farm.

“Using 4R Nutrient Stewardship, we can help our customers fully realize the benefits of this program with responsible and effective and profitable planning,” says Jim Campbell, AGRIS Co-operative general manager. “If we can help farmers to optimize crop yields and make sustainable contributions to Canada’s agri-food sector, it’s a win for everyone,” Campbell added.

The 4R Certification Program is funded and guided under a 4R Ontario Steering Committee comprised of a diverse set of stakeholders from industry, government, conservation authorities and grower organizations including Fertilizer Canada, the Ontario Agri Business Association (OABA), Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO), the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario (CFFO) and Conservation Ontario.

“OABA congratulates AGRIS Co-operative Ltd. for being one of the first to have a crop retail location certified under the 4R program in Ontario. These certifications are indicative of the commitment and leadership being shown by crop retailers across the province in bringing 4R Nutrient Stewardship to Ontario farms,” says Dave Buttenham, chief executive officer, Ontario Agri Business Association.

AGRIS Co-operative Ltd. is a 100 per-cent farmer-owned grain marketing and farm-input supply company that serves more than 1,000 farmer owners in 14 locations in Essex, Kent, Elgin, Middlesex and Lambton Counties. It is a leader in precision farming technology, seed, agronomy and petroleum services. The co-operative is a partner of Great Lakes Grain, a grain merchandising company. AGRIS Co-operative is a member-owner of GROWMARK, Inc. and markets products and services under the FS banner. 

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 Jim Campbell
General Manager
AGRIS Co-operative Ltd.
 Dale Cowan
Senior Agronomist/Sale Manager
AGRIS Co-operative Ltd.