The Nutrient Stewardship Council will work toward the goal of having 80 percent of farmed acres in the Western Lake Erie Basin under certified management by 2025.

The 4R Nutrient Certification Program refers to using the right source of nutrients at the right rate and right time in the right place and is a key best management practice (BMP) to help reduce nutrient runoff into waterways. Agricultural retailers and service providers can voluntarily earn 4R certification through the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program, which includes three sections: Initial Training and Ongoing Education, Monitoring 4R Implementation; and Nutrient Recommendations. Program requirements are implemented over an initial three-year period and audited by a private, third-party auditor on an annual basis.

In June 2016, The Andersons Inc. Waterloo Facility became the first facility in Indiana to receive 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification.

The Andersons Inc. Waterloo Facility celebrates becoming the first Indiana facility to earn 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification (Credit:

The Andersons Inc. Waterloo Facility serves a total of 30 grower customers and 4,500 certified acres under the 4R program. They also applied nutrients using 4R principles for another 85 grower customers on 17,000 acres, but those activities are not counted toward the total statistics since the Andersons did not make the nutrient recommendations. This avoids potential double-counting of acres if another certified crop consultant made nutrient recommendations.

4R Nutrient Certification in Indiana
Grower customersAcres served
Full service (recommendations/consulting, nutrients sold, and nutrients applied)253000
Nutrient application8517,000
Nutrient recommendations51,500

In addition to the direct work the Andersons Inc. Waterloo Facility does with grower customers, they also work with soil and water conservation districts and host farm days to help educate farmers on best practices.

There is opportunity for more Indiana nutrient service providers to commit to the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program to meet the goals of the region.