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PEI Potato Growers Embrace Sustainable Nutrient Management

(CHARLOTTETOWN, PE  -  May 23rd, 2013)   As the populations of Prince Edward Island, Canada, and the world continue to grow, the need for nutritious, safe food grows as well.  With a finite land base available for growing food, much of this increased need for food will have to come from improved yields, necessitating the need for the application of nutrients.  While Prince Edward Island is fortunate to be a fertile province with strong agricultural resources, farmers need to be both economically and environmentally sustainable in their actions, especially when it relates to nutrient application.  

In recognition of this commitment to sustainability, the Prince Edward Island Potato Board is a partner in the Farming 4R Island initiative.  The 4R Nutrient Stewardship (4R) approach ensures that nutrients are applied to agricultural fields using the Right Source at the Right Rate, at the Right Time and in the Right Place to protect out soil, water and air for society.  This initiative, developed by the Canadian Fertilizer Institute in conjunction with the International Plant Nutrition Institute, The Fertilizer Institute, and Fertilizers Europe, supports farms and communities with practical tools to implement Beneficial Management Practices.  Other partners in this initiative are the Prince Edward Island Department of Environment, Labour and Justice, the Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the Prince Edward Island Federation of Agriculture, and the Kensington North Watershed Association.  Through this initiative, the Canadian Fertilizer Institute has committed $150,000 in funding over three years to implement the 4R Program.  

“The 4R Program is a new way we should all be looking at fertilizer application.  As an industry, agriculture needs to take a proactive approach to the environmental practices that we use,” notes Gary Linkletter, Chair of the PEI Potato Board.

The stakeholders of the Farming 4R Island initiative have begun work on a number of projects aimed at guiding farmers on the Best Management Practices of the 4R Program.  These projects include:

  • Planning to hire a Professional Agrologist to champion the 4R Program on PEI,
  • Planning workshops to raise awareness and increase participation in the 4R Program among growers and to promote 4R nutrient management planning with certified professionals,
  • Working with a Professional Agrologist to establish five “demonstration” potato farms that showcase the impact of 4R implementation, and
  • Developing educational materials to be PEI-specific in scope.

More details on the Farming 4R Island initiative can be found at www.farming4Rfuture.ca.

Prince Edward Island Potatoes are world renowned for the great taste and quality that comes from growing in the unique red soil of PEI.  The potato industry in PEI creates a total economic impact of $1.065 billion dollars and directly or indirectly employs over 12% of the Island workforce.  The Prince Edward Island Potato Board is a producer-controlled association dedicated to supporting the highest performance of an economically and environmentally sustainable potato industry.