Save the whales…I mean nutrients

I haven’t lost my marbles and started cruising the high seas on a Greenpeace ship. However, I did accept an invitation to meet with an environmental group during Commodity Classic.

Odd, I know, right?

On my journey to this meeting, dodging an interesting crowd in the French Quarter of New Orleans, my thoughts turned to the possibility of anti-agriculture activists. Had some extremist crazies heard about the 9,500 of us ag-loving types invading The Big Easy?

Fortunately, there were no gas-mask-wearing folks shouting GMO horrors. Nor were there any anti-glyphosate fear-mongers. And thankfully, I didn’t run into any anti-ag activists from the Environmental Working Group.

I arrived at a busy bistro and weaved my way to the rear to find a private dining room. I was intercepted by some friendly, down-to-earth members and leaders of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

Still the skeptic (we journalists have that seared into our brains), my curiosity was piqued as I glanced further into the room. I quickly recognized several farmers from different states, all smiling and talking (apparently not being held against their free will!).

So my mind had over-exaggerated a Save-the-Whales-type media event. What I discovered was an exciting launch of a Save the Nutrients program, so to speak.

Now, I’m always initially reserved (yes, skeptical) about any new product or service being served up to the media. I continued my unwavering mantra of ‘show me the unbiased, applied-science results’ that I always push back onto company spokespeople. This time, they answered with science-driven logic and research, and even showcased farmers who extolled program virtues.

Called NutrientStar, this science-driven independent program is designed to rate the success (or failure) of nutrient management tools such as Adapt-N and Agrotain, the first two services/products judged by the independent scientific research council. This whole effort is the result of an amazing partnership between EDF and some world-class researchers, consultants and farmers. They also have established research protocols going forward so any company can test potential products they want to market.

As Ohio farmer Fred Yoder explained it: “The Environmental Defense Fund is the most farmer-friendly green group there is to work with. These guys have put together a dynamite team of independent researchers to do this work. They are not selling anything but scientific evaluation. I liken this to ‘show me the CarFax,’ ” he said. Yoder is looking forward to the results of this service “because there are a lot of products that need to be evaluated, and the NutrientStar system will help separate the riffraff from the real deal.”

Stay tuned for stories to come. Check out current results at nutrientstar.org. I sincerely thank you for reading, for viewing more valuable content on csdigest.com, for subscribing to our newsletters, and for being willing to Think Different.

TAGS: Fertilizer
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