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Beck Brothers Citrus recently received the 2018 4R Advocate Award, and they are just one of many Florida growers who practice sustainable fertilizer management practices.

A LOT OF GOOD THINGS are happening at Beck Brothers Citrus, and they’ve combined to bring the Windermere, Fla.-based company some prestigious national recognition.

Beck Brothers Citrus was one of five winners of The Fertilizer Institute’s 4R Advocate Award for 2018. The company was nominated for the award by Griffin Fertilizer Company of Frostproof, a member of the Florida Fertilizer & Agrichemical Association (FFAA).

4R is short for “right source, right rate, right time, and right place.” The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) selected Beck Brothers Citrus for the Advocate Award after reviewing the company’s launch of new 4R fertilizer management practices throughout its growing and farming operations to increase production and reduce the impact on the environment.

Beck Brothers Citrus and the other four 4R Advocate Award winners were honored at an awards banquet hosted by The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) at the 2018 Commodity Classic in February in Anaheim, Calif. There, the Becks — Glenn and Mark — also represented the 4R program during the Commodity Classic trade show. Since that time, they’ve been engaged in TFI’s various outreach efforts to promote fertilizer management practices.

Glenn and Mark Beck own and manage 7,500 acres of Florida citrus groves spread out over seven Central Florida counties. The farm was founded by their father, George, in the early 1950s. The brothers also have a blueberry-growing operation.

Beck Brothers Citrus is enrolled in Best Management Practices for Florida, a set of guidelines the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has to improve water quality throughout the state.

The Becks’ company was nominated for the 4R Advocacy Award for its efficient agricultural practices, including soil sampling and precision fertilization.

We talk a lot about 4R Nutrient Stewardship at TFI, but these practices only work if they are used on the farm,” said Chris Jahn, the president of TFI. “The 4R Advocate program is our way of recognizing good work when we see it, and these farmers and retailers are the fertilizer industry’s boots on the ground and represent the industry’s commitment to environmental stewardship.”

According to TFI, the leading voice of the nation’s fertilizer industry, the 4R Advocate program is part of a broad and high-priority campaign to raise awareness and adoption of 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices. Fertilizer is a component of sustainable crop production systems, and the fertilizer industry recognizes the need to efficiently utilize these nutrients.

TFI describes 4R Nutrient Stewardship as “an innovative and science-based approach that offers enhanced environmental protection, increased production, increased farmer profitability, and improved sustainability.”

TFI has partnerships with the International Plant Nutrition Institute, the International Fertilizer Industry Association, and Fertilizer Canada to help advance the 4R nutrient stewardship initiative.

Also making note of the 4R Advocacy Award for Beck Brothers Citrus was The Nature Conservancy. In a website article titled “Partnering with Florida’s Farms,” The Nature Conservancy had this to say:

When The Nature Conservancy partners with farmers to encourage conservation, we see great results. In December 2017, Beck Brothers Citrus in Central Florida was honored with The Fertilizer Institute’s prestigious 4R Advocate Award. Not only do 4R practices support soil and water health, they also help to grow excellent produce.

That glass of orange juice you had this morning might’ve been a result of their hard work,’ said David Royal, The Nature Conservancy’s Florida Nutrient Stewardship project manager.

The 4R Nutrient Stewardship program promotes methods that help ensure that nutrients used in farming end up in the plants and not in our freshwater, where they can impair water quality. For sustainable and effective fertilizer use, focusing on the “4Rs”—the right source, right rate, right time, and right place — makes all the difference.”

The Nature Conservancy reports that it “works closely with Beck Brothers Citrus and hundreds of farms throughout Florida to support the implementation of the 4Rs and other conservation methods to protect natural resources while producing quality crops.”

FFAA President Mary Hartney credited Royal for his encouragement and assistance in the award nomination process. “He’s helping shine a positive light on growers who are innovative nutrient managers,” she said.

Beck Brothers Citrus is the third 4R Advocate Award winner from Florida and the very first citrus-growing company to win the award.

Learn more about Beck Brothers Citrus and the 4R Advocate Award here.

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