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WASHINGTON -- Five American farmers and their fertilizer retail partners have been named as 4R Grower Advocates for 2016 by the Fertilizer Institute (TFI). The winners represent growers and retailers across the nation, dedicated to implementing the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship – using the right nutrient source at the right rate, the right time and in the right place.

The 2016 4R Grower and Retailer Advocates are:

• Ric Rodriguez and Joe Bridges with J.R. Simplot Company. Both hail from Powell, Wyoming where Rodriguez operates a third-generation family farm consisting of 1,400 acres of sugar beets, 1,400 acres of malt barley and 200 acres of alfalfa hay.  All acres of this operation are irrigated and Rodriguez has begun utilizing pivot irrigation in place of flood irrigation.  The use of pivot irrigation and precision agricultural technologies have reduced water usage by 33% and led to better overall nutrient management.

• Lowell and David Myerholtz, Myerholtz Farms, Gibonsburg, Ohio and John Fritz, CCA with The Andersons, Inc. Fremont, Ohio.  Lowell and his son David operate Myerholtz Farms which consists of 1,500 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat, located in the Western Lake Erie Basin.  The farming operation incorporates strip tillage along with variable rate fertilizer application to promote a strong overall 4R Nutrient Management Program.

• Darin Stolte of Olin, Iowa and Jimmie Daughtery, Precision Ag Specialist with River Valley Coop in Davenport, Iowa.  Stolte, along with his mother and father farm 1,100 acres of corn, soybeans and alfalfa.  Stolte is also the co-owner of a drainage tiling business and owns and operates a cow-calf operation.  Darin conducts many nitrogen trials on his farm which has led to collaboration with the Iowa Soybean Association – On-Farm Network.

• Grower Thomas Connors of Shipman, Illinois and nominating retailer Regan Wear, who is the Agronomy Manager for CHS Inc., also in Shipman, Ill. .  Connors, along with his father, wife and two sons owns and operates a fourth-generation family farm consisting of a small cow-calf operation and 2,500 acres of row crop production.  Soil conservation practices, grid soil sampling, the incorporation of yield data into fertility recommendations and yield maps have helped build better soils and increase yields on Conners’ farm.

• Calvin Haile, Haile Farm, LLC. in Dunnsville, Virginia and Lucas Householder, General Manager of Southern States’ Cooperative’s Eastern Virginia Agronomy Operations in King William, Virginia.  Haile is a second generation farmer with a 2,750 acre operation on the Rappahannock River. Haile is certified by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreations’ Virginia Nutrient Management Program.  Grid soil sampling and satellite imagery scouting are but two practices that have helped this farmer and retailer team turn the 4Rs into an investment with a solid return on investment..

These winners will be awarded an expense-paid trip to the 2016 Commodity Classic in New Orleans, Louisiana, March 3-5, where they will be honored at an awards banquet hosted by TFI. The 4R Grower and Retailer Advocates will also be part of TFI’s outreach efforts to promote nutrient management practices that benefit farmers and their communities, as well as the environment.

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