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Co-op launches new farm stewardship program

By Daniel Jungwirth

January 8, 2019

Co-op is launching a new farm stewardship program for agricultural producers —one that’s designed to improve yields and efficiency with on-farm practices that are mindful of air, soil and water quality.

GROWN WITH PURPOSE™ is a forward-thinking agronomic program delivered by the Co-op Grow Team, the network of agronomists that advises farm customers at Co-op Agro Centres across Western Canada.

“Grown with Purpose is a way of farming for today and tomorrow that provides growers with meaningful strategies to drive yields, enhance soil quality and build a legacy for the next generation,” said Trish Meyers, PAg, Director of Crop Supplies with Federated Co-operatives Limited, which helped develop the program for the Co-op Grow Team.

“Through Grown with Purpose, Co-op Grow Team members will build custom strategies for growers to improve fertilizer efficiency and other on-farm performance metrics. We will also help producers capture and verify that data so they can show their community — and the people buying their grain — exactly how their farm is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.”

What is Grown with Purpose?

Grown with Purpose describes a comprehensive suite of best management practices that assist crop planning and field operations. As a 4R-designated retailer, Co-op has leveraged 4R Nutrient Stewardship as a cornerstone of the program. 4R Nutrient Stewardship is a set of principles developed by Fertilizer Canada that ensures fertilizer applications are made when and where plants need them the most. 

As part of the Grown with Purpose Program, Co-op Grow Team members will work with growers to complete assessments on the right source, rate, timing and placement of fertilizer. Using advanced agronomic tools and strategies, including soil test analysis, variable-rate technology and enhanced-efficiency products, Co-op Grow Team members will help producers get the most from these investments while minimizing nutrient losses to the environment.

“4R Nutrient Stewardship offers growers a solution to nutrient management that is scientifically proven to increase yields and profitability while reducing environmental impacts and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Garth Whyte, President and CEO of Fertilizer Canada. “Agri-retailers are a grower’s trusted source for farm advice, and we’re pleased to see Federated Co-operatives Limited incorporating the sustainability principles of the 4R framework into their grower services.”

Farm for the future                                          

Agricultural producers can begin their Grown with Purpose journey today with a comprehensive review of their on-farm activities, providing Co-op Grow Team members with a complete picture of the producer’s farm, crop planning and management history.

That assessment will be used to identify effective strategies that can be employed one field at a time to improve on-farm efficiency, productivity and safety. That includes, but is not limited to, the following on-farm strategies and activities:

  • Nutrient management strategies that promote economic, environmental and social sustainability goals
  • Crop rotations that promote soil health and reduce the spread of disease and insects
  • Crop protection applications that mitigate herbicide resistance by rotating and layering products with different modes of action
  • Sprayer tank cleanout practices that reduce the amount of wasted product and prevent unnecessary crop injury.

Producers can learn more about Grown with Purpose by speaking with a Co-op Grow Team member at their local Co-op Agro Centre or by visiting www.agro.crs.