Indiana 4R Certification

Over the last three years, the Agribusiness Council of Indiana has been researching, studying, seeking input, and discussing with its members the implementation of a 4R certification program in Indiana. After many discussions, ACI determined that collaborating with the Indiana Agricultural Nutrient Alliance (IANA) would help propel the program forward. With the invaluable assistance of Ben Wicker, executive director of IANA, ACI is created a framework for the new Indiana 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program. The program launched on November 20, 2020.

What is 4R?

The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program is a voluntary program for ACI members that encourages agricultural retailers and independent crop consultants to adopt proven best practices through the 4Rs - which refers to using the Right Source of Nutrients at the Right Rate and Right Time in the Right Place. This approach provides a science-based framework for plant nutrition management and sustained crop production, while considering specific individual farms' needs. It is a proactive, responsible commitment aimed at the long-term improvement of water quality. With roots in the Western Lake Erie Basin, the program has expanded internationally, adopted by states in the U.S. and Canadian provinces. Indiana will be the first "I" state to launch the 4R program! The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program is governed internationally be the Global 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Council (Global 4R NSCC) Governance Committee. Find more information about this committee here.

How does a retailer become 4R Certified?

The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program occurs on a 3-year certification cycle where a retail location is audited on a set of standards developed by the Nutrient Stewardship Council. This set of standards outlines best practices (program requirements) to be implemented.  Each requirement is evaluated each audit period by a private, third party auditor via an in-person audit to earn or maintain certification. Depending on the services provided by the Nutrient Service Provider, some criteria will not be applicable. There are three sections to the Program which include:

  • Initial Training and Ongoing Education;
  • Monitoring of 4R Implementation; and 
  • Nutrient Recommendations and Application.

Indiana's specific 4R Certification Standards are finalized and can be read here. To read more on the general 4R Program auditable requirements, which were incorporated into the Indiana standards, click here.

Become 4R Certified

What is the NSC and who is on it?

The Nutrient Stewardship Council is an ACI committee formed to oversee and govern the Indiana 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program. Their mission is to develop an auditable nutrient stewardship certification program encouraging responsible commitment by nutrient service providers aimed at the long-term improvement of water quality in the Mississippi River Watershed and other surrounding waterways. The following individuals comprise the Indiana 4R NSC:

  • Mike Dunn, Chair - The Nature Conservancy
  • Ryan Lee - Helena Agri-Enterprises LLC
  • Matt Pearson - Office of the Indiana State Chemist
  • Danny Greene - Greene Crop Consulting, Inc.
  • Kevin McGuire - Co-Alliance LLP
  • Robert Mullen - Nutrien
  • Jill Reinhart - USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Jim Camberato - Purdue University
  • Jennifer Thum - Indiana State Department of Agriculture
  • Sally Flis - The Fertilizer Institute
  • Adam Lovelace - The Andersons, Inc.
  • George Kakasuleff - Kakasuleff Farms
  • Adam Herges - The Mosaic Company
  • Amy Cornell - Agribusiness Council of Indiana

What is a Pilot Audit Program and who participated?

The Agribusiness Council of Indiana knew that the best way to ensure this program was a success was to "try out" the 4R Certification Standard with some Indiana retailer locations. Four ACI member companies generously agreed to take part in a pilot audit to assist in this endeavor. Thank you to the following participants:



All pilot audits are now complete, and the NSC used that data and feedback to evaluate the program and made adjustments accordingly.

 Indiana's 4R Certification Program Made Possible By: