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November 19, 2012
For immediate release

Prince Edward Island and fertilizer industry agree on blueprint towards improved agricultural sustainability

Environment, Labour and Justice

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The government of Prince Edward Island (PEI), the PEI Federation of Agriculture, the PEI Potato Board, and the Kensington North Watersheds Association signed a 4R Nutrient Stewardship Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Canadian Fertilizer Institute (CFI) to link the province’s objectives for environmental action and agricultural sustainability with improved fertilizer use.

“Through sustainable actions, we can protect our soil, water and air for society, enhance the productivity and profitability of our farmers, and ensure the future of the agricultural industry,” Hon. Janice Sherry, Minister of Environment, Labour and Justice, explains. “Our goal for this project is to communicate to Island farmers the benefits of proper nutrient management and to protect our Island environment by encouraging farmers to follow beneficial management practices.”

4R Nutrient Stewardship (4R) was established in cooperation with government, researchers, farmers and the public. The 4R approach ensures that nutrients are applied using the Right Source @ Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place® through the adoption of beneficial management practices (BMPs) by producers to achieve economic, social and environmental sustainability.

“The 4R Program is a new way we should all be looking at fertilizer application, and as an industry, agriculture needs to take a proactive approach to the environmental practices that we use and then tell consumers what we are doing and why it is good for a safe food production system,” explains Gary Linkletter, Chair of the P.E.I. Potato Board.

CFI, the first ever industry sector to enter into a MOU on agricultural sustainability with the government, is committed to the promotion of nutrient management practices on-farm. “There are many advantages for farmers to adopt the 4Rs into their cropping systems,” said Norm Beug, Chair of CFI. “The 4Rs offer a framework to farmers as they implement BMPs to optimize fertilizer efficiency, which minimizes nutrient loss and leakage into the air and water and maximizes farmer returns.”

PEI is the first Canadian province to sign a 4R Nutrient Stewardship MOU, but its potential does not end there. The 4R Nutrient Stewardship System was developed by the fertilizer industry to be flexible enough to be utilized anywhere in Canada and around the world to reduce emissions and provide an increasing profitability for farmers.

“The strength of this agreement lies in farmers and watershed groups working together,” said Minister of Agriculture and Forestry George Webster. “Working together helps broaden our understanding of the issues and the steps that are necessary to encourage growth in a sustainable manner.”

The MOU sets out specific elements of an agreement between the Government of PEI and the fertilizer industry, including a commitment by CFI to provide financial support of $150,000 over three years. The Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the Department of Environment, Labour and Justice and CFI will work in partnership with Island farmers and conservation groups to support the adoption of sustainable 4R Nutrient Stewardship Systems.

“Agriculture is a huge part of our economy and our culture on PEI,” commented Ches Boutlilier, President of Kensington North Watersheds. “Watershed groups are happy to be able to support farmers on watershed issues, such as participating in this MOU.”

CFI is committed to promoting the adoption of 4R Nutrient Stewardship by producers across Canada. CFI will be working with farmers and other partners to set targets for bringing thousands of acres of Canada’s farmland under 4R Nutrient Stewardship.

“We are pleased that this MOU has enabled a diverse group to come together and form a partnership that will help Island farmers and the entire agriculture industry on PEI continue on its road to environmental and financial sustainability, said Bertha Campbell, President of the PEI Federation of Agriculture.

Media Contact: Ron Ryder
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