GROWMARK’s Agronomy division has launched a new Pollinator Seed Program coined the Endure Advocate Program focused on entry-level and advanced nutrient management training programs. The secondary focus on the program is to support honeybees; GROWMARK is donating wildflower seed to many of its supply and grain members to plant and promote honeybee health. If all the FS and grain members plant their seeds this spring, there will be 70 habitats across more than 25 acres. In addition 24 employees are also planting honeybee habits and various 4-H clubs have also joined the effort.
Lance Ruppert, GROWMARK Director, Agronomy Marketing, said the pollinator program is just one example of activities throughout the GROWMARK System that showcase sustainable practices. “The number of companies and employees participating in this program are a testament to our commitment to sustainable practices. The addition of more than 100 total habitats across a wide geography will provide additional opportunities for pollinator species to assist in our robust food production system.”
Designed to endure over time, the new program will recognize up to five FS crop specialists who engage growers in sustainable best management farming practices. FS member companies will nominate employees who demonstrate ability in: Utilizing the 4Rs (right source, right rate, right time, right place) approach of nutrient stewardship, assisting growers with fertilizer management, implementing nitrogen monitoring programs like N-WATCH, and more.
“Environmental stewardship is extremely important to all of us,” said Ruppert. “We continue to put a major focus on nutrient management under our Endure Sustainability Initiative. The Endure Advocate Program is recognizing those employees who help us maintain a high standard of excellence in application and best management practices.” He added recognition will be made at the GROWMARK annual meeting in August.
Also part of the Endure program is advanced training under the Nutrient Management Specialist Program. Designed to help develop nitrogen management experts and nutrient management trainers within the System, the advanced specialists will help identify nutrient management issues, assist with local nutrient management outreach, train other crop specialists on nutrient management planning, and write reviews for N-WATCH.
“This advanced and specialized training will help our members work with farmers and other crop specialists to maximize nitrogen utilization,” added Dr. Howard Brown, GROWMARK’s Director of Nutrient Management and Environmental Stewardship. “It is our goal to improve nutrient stewardship through maximizing input utilization and optimizing harvest yields.”