President & CEO, Fertilizer Canada
Dr. Claudia Wagner-Riddle
Director, North American Centre of the International Nitrogen Initiative & Professor, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph
Efficient fertilizer management provides not only economic but social and environmental benefits for farmers and all Canadians.
“I’ve never been shy about my passion for fertilizer,” Bill Gates once said. “It’s a magical innovation that’s responsible for saving millions of lives from hunger and lifting millions more out of poverty by boosting agricultural productivity.”
Fertilizer provides vital food for all plants. A critical component in the modern agriculture process, fertilizers ensure that crop nutrient demands are met and that soil nutrients continue to be replenished.
We want to make sure that our members can help feed the world.Garth Whyte, President and CEO of Fertilizer Canada
Growing food to feed the world
Fertilizer Canada represents manufacturers, wholesalers, and retail distributors of nitrogen, phosphate, potash, and sulphur fertilizers. The fertilizer industry plays an essential role in Canada’s economy, contributing over $23 billion annually and employing 76,000 workers. “Canada is the world leader in potash, shipping to over 75 countries around the world,” says Garth Whyte, President and CEO of Fertilizer Canada. “We’re also a major nitrogen exporter.”
As the voice of the Canadian fertilizer industry, Fertilizer Canada’s mission is to advance the safe, secure, and sustainable production and use of fertilizer through proactive science-based programs, innovation, and advocacy. “We want to make sure that our members can help feed the world,” says Whyte.
For over a decade, Fertilizer Canada has worked with Canadian farmers, industry, and the research community to develop and promote 4R Nutrient Stewardship (Right Source @ Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place®). “4R Nutrient Stewardship is a management system that improves fertilizer use and reduces off-field impacts,” Whyte explains. “It’s all about applying the right source of fertilizer at the right rate in the right time and right place.”
4R Nutrient Stewardship and sustainability are key initiatives of Fertilizer Canada, which is working to improve on-farm economics, crop productivity, and fertilizer efficiency while benefiting the environment.
The importance of nitrogen-related initiatives
“Estimates show that about 40% of the world’s population is alive because of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer crop production,” says Dr. Claudia Wagner-Riddle, Director of the North American Centre of the International Nitrogen Initiative and a professor at the University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Sciences.
Dr. Wagner-Riddle’s work focuses on developing accurate measuring systems that capture nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions to determine how best to manage agricultural fields to minimize these emissions and their negative impacts. With the Liberal government’s pledge to reach net-zero by 2050, these types of initiatives must be advanced to meet our goals.
Introducing the 4R Climate-Smart Protocol
Fertilizer Canada has led and continues to support the development of the 4R Climate-Smart Protocol on behalf of Canada’s fertilizer industry. The Protocol is an easily-adaptable, science-based solution for Canada’s growers to optimize nitrogen management in their cropping systems and to demonstrate carbon reduction in a quantifiable, credible, and verifiable way through a 4R Nutrient Stewardship Plan on the farm.
“Frameworks like the 4R Climate Smart Protocol are real game-changers. The Protocol is designed to meet international standards for improving on-farm nitrogen management to ensure the economically efficient and environmentally responsible use of fertilizer,” says Whyte.