The Fertilizer Institute Funds Research on 4R Practice Implementation in the Northern Great Plains

TFI announced $800,000 in new funding through the 4R Research Fund for a research project led by University of Minnesota to evaluate and adapt the 4R Nutrient Stewardship concept in the Red River Basin.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2020 – The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) today announced $800,000 in new funding through the 4R Research Fund for a research project led by University of Minnesota to evaluate and adapt the 4R Nutrient Stewardship concept for sustainable nutrient management in the Red River Basin.

“One of the basic tenants of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship initiative is that it is not a one size fits all approach, and that’s why geography-specific research, such as this project, is so vital,” said Corey Rosenbusch, TFI President and CEO. “The fertilizer industry’s commitment to the 4R Research Fund is a critical component in our efforts to improve sustainable plant nutrition.”

The Red River Basin of the North is currently adapting to new demands in response to increased grain production and increased nutrient loads in the region’s freshwater lakes. Defining and adopting 4R Nutrient Stewardship and edge-of-field practices for this cold weather climate across the region is critical to reducing the extent and severity of nutrient runoff losses from agricultural land to Lake Winnipeg in Canada.

The international border separating the source of the nutrients from the area of impact has increased pressure on farmers to adopt strategies to reduce nutrient runoff. Previous research in the Western Lake Erie Basin has shown that adopting a 4R framework can help meet nutrient load reduction goals. This project, a public-private partnership, will evaluate the 4R Nutrient Stewardship concept and amend it for implementation in the shifting cropping systems and cold climate of the Red River Basin.

“We are excited to adapt the 4R Nutrient Stewardship concept for this critical, but often overlooked, North American watershed,” said Dr. Lindsay Pease, assistant professor at the University of Minnesota and lead project investigator. “This cross-border, multi-institutional project will allow us to work alongside growers in developing practical phosphorus management solutions that protect both the long-term sustainability of agriculture and our shared water resources.”

The project will also develop outreach programming and resources to communicate research findings and engage stakeholders to support the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program in the region.

In addition to the 4R Research Fund grant, $1.2 million has been leveraged in matching funds and infrastructure. The University of Minnesota will work with partners in the United States and Canada, including the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Manitoba Department of Agriculture, the University of Manitoba, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Agricultural Water Resources Center, Sand County Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, North Dakota State University, and the University of Waterloo.

The Fertilizer Institute, in cooperation with Fertilizer Canada, established the 4R Research Fund through the Foundation for Agronomic Research in 2013 to address U.S. and Canadian knowledge gaps in nutrient management. Since then, in the Untied States, the industry has invested $9.2 million into projects while leveraging $10 million in other funding to support 4R research. More information is available at


TFI is the leading voice of the nation’s fertilizer industry. Tracing its roots back to 1883, TFI’s membership includes fertilizer producers, wholesalers, retailers and trading firms. TFI’s full-time staff, based in Washington, D.C., serves its members through legislative, educational, technical, economic information and public communication programs. Find more information about TFI online at Learn more about TFI’s nutrient stewardship initiatives at