Nutrients for Life Foundation and The Fertilizer Institute unveil the 4R Reader

Farm Forum

WASHINGTON – The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and the Nutrients for Life Foundation (NFLF) are joining forces to teach students about nutrient stewardship and soil science. NFLF released the 4R Reader for 3rd and 4th grade elementary school students. The activity booklet introduces the 4Rs in a way that relates to the students’ lives: health and eating.

“TFI’s 4R Nutrient Stewardship program has made significant strides in educating our partners and stakeholders about sustainable nutrient management,” said Chris Jahn, TFI President. “However, we believe that to really be effective and make an impact in the responsible use of fertilizer, we need to be teaching the next generation these same principles. The 4R Reader is an excellent tool to educate elementary school students about the basics about nutrient stewardship.”

Through colorful comic strips and a class science experiment, students learn more about the 4Rs: right source, right rate, right time, and right place in the context of soil nutrition. After reading about fertilizer and the 4Rs, students perform a class experiment with the right and wrong nutrient sources, rates, time, and place on grass.

“We are excited to share this new resource with the more than 40,000 teachers nationwide in our network,” said NFLF Executive Director Harriet Wegmeyer. “The 4R Nutrient Stewardship program is an important concept to teach to our nation’s youth. Since its inception, NFLF has impacted more than 24 million students – it’s awesome to think that students will now be introduced to the 4Rs.”

NFLF is also featuring 4R Nutrient Stewardship in their recently released Feeding the World & Protecting the Environment curriculum supplement. In this resource for advanced placement classes, future voters learn about essential plant nutrients, the 4Rs, and study the fertilizer-manufacturing processes. Additionally, students consider various federal regulations, such as the Clean Water Act, in relation to fertilizer manufacturing. Finally, the resource provides labs, reading excerpts, and classroom activities relating to the advanced content.

To download the 4R Reader, Feeding the World & Protecting the Environment piece, or any of NFLF’s soil science resources, visit