• 2013 Advocates
In January 2013, TFI announced the winners of the 2013 4R Advocate Awards, recognizing farmers and retailers who are protecting the environment, boosting profitability and benefiting society through nutrient stewardship practices based on the 4R’s (use of the right nutrient source at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place). The winners were nominated by their retail dealers who are also recognized with 4R awards. The five winning growers, a spouse or companion and their nominating retailers were awarded an expense-paid trip to the Commodity Classic, Feb. 28-March 2 in Kissimmee, Fla. The Commodity Classic is the once-a-year, can't-miss event for America's soybean, corn, wheat and sorghum farmers. At the Classic, 4R Advocate winners see the latest agricultural innovations first-hand and met other growers and agricultural leaders from across the nation honored at an invitation-only 4R Advocate banquet. The 2013 winners and links to their 4R Advocate Profiles are as follows:



Grower: Rick and Jess Brunner (Fifth Generation Farms)
Retailer: Josh Bafus (Crop Production Services (CPS))
State: Washington

Rick and Jesse Brunner of Fifth Generation Farms operate a 2,700-acre dry land farm growing winter wheat, spring wheat, triticale, spring barley and mustard.  They work with Josh Bafus of CPS.


What Rick and Jesse say about the 4Rs: 

The 4R program epitomizes our philosophy to farm management. As a multi-generational farm, we are responsible not only to our current family to provide a living, but also to those that will come after us. We strive to improve our overall soil health, to limit our environmental impact, and to increase our profits while continuing the farm legacy we received.”

What Josh says about the 4Rs: 

“Crop Production Services and our growers promote the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Program to produce better crops with higher yields. We utilize the best management practices for agricultural sustainability as well as minimizing environmental impact for future generations to follow.”


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Grower: Alan Jones (Jones Potato Inc.)
Retailer: Dennis Coleman (Crop Production Services (CPS))
State: Florida

Alan Jones of Jones Potato Inc operates a 2,800-acre potato, green bean, citrus and cattle farm. He works with Dennis Coleman of CPS.


What Alan says about the 4Rs: 

“4R program ideals have been at the core of my fertility program for years. Adapting my fertilizer programs based on crop needs, weather and raw material prices has enabled Jones Potato Farm to maximize production while keeping costs in check.”

What Dennis says about the 4Rs: 

“So many times we get stuck in a rut and repeat the same programs year after year. The 4R Program spurs us into really thinking about fertility programs and to reevaluate how we are managing them. As a result, growers may just end up becoming a little more profitable and an even better steward of the land.”


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Grower: Alan Madison (Madison Farms)
Retailer: Mark Orr (Ag View FS)
State: Illinois

Alan Madison of Madison Farms operates a 3,300-acre corn and soybean operation with 28 acres of CRP as filter strips and wildlife habitat areas. He works with Mark Orr (Ag View FS).


What Alan says about the 4Rs: 

“In concept, a lot of producers are using the 4Rs because they make sense and provide an economical advantage. As an industry, we need to better tell our story to show consumers and other producers how it works. We are being the best nutrient stewards we can be while protecting the environment for future generations.”

What Mark says about the 4Rs: 

“Our role is to partner with growers to establish best management practices. We are involved with On Farm Discovery projects that produce “Predictable Performers” relative to tweaking existing programs. A grower’s willingness to push the envelope is only tempered by our requirements to increase yield, do it profitably for the grower and have an environmentally neutral impact. This expands well beyond product-related decisions.”


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Grower: John Scates (Pat Scates and Sons Farm)
Retailer: Mike Wilson (Wabash Valley FS)
State: Illinois

John Scates of Pat Scates and Sons Farm and his family operate a 17,000-acre corn, soybean, grain sorghum and wheat operation. They work with Mike Wilson (Wabash Valley FS).


What John says about the 4Rs: 

“The soil is our most important asset. Pat Scates and Sons use the 4Rs to help protect the farming operation and the environment. This translates into using only what we need yet maximizing our profit and our efficiency. The 4Rs also help our farm to convey a positive message to our peers and our consumers that we are conscientious about the environment in which we farm.”

What Mike says about the 4Rs: 

“The 4Rs have always been an important component of how our crop specialists address nutrient management with our growers. Now, with Illinois’ KIC 2025, the 4Rs are even more critical to helping our growers adhere to guidelines to ensure good water quality in our watersheds.”


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Grower: Justin Stoneman (Stoneman Farms)
Retailer: Steve Wendzel (Wilbur-Ellis)
State: Michigan

Justin Stoneman of Stoneman Farms and his family operate a 3,200-acre fourth generation farm growing row crops and vegetables; 2012 crops included corn, soybeans, wheat, sugar beets and machine harvest cucumbers. He works with Steve Wendzel (Wilbur Ellis).


What Justin says about the 4Rs: 

“Any program that advocates best-use agricultural practices is a step in the right direction. There is a lot of value to 4R practices. If producers would consider implementing the 4R’s into their current practices, they would find it beneficial to their long-term goals of sustainability and good stewardship of the land.”

What Steve says about the 4Rs: 

“Stoneman Farms won a 4R award, not because they set out to strictly follow the 4Rs, but because the concept has always been their business philosophy for financial stability and environmental stewardship. Their use of manure and cover crops to enhance soil health are key focal areas. As the old saying goes, ‘Take care of the land and the land will take care of you.’”


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