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Effort Aims to Fill Void in Crop Nutrition Education
USAgNet - 06/18/2021

A new educational initiative, created by Dr. Ray Hoyum, well-respected agronomist, soil scientist and marketing executive, strives to help fill the void in crop nutrition education which spans across the agricultural retail industry. FOCAS "Beyond the Basics" is a non-profit, soon to be launched, educational effort that will provide relevant programs with the goals of maximizing crop production and grower profitability.

With nearly 60 percent of the cost of producing a crop coming from plant nutrient inputs, it is imperative that retail dealers and growers stay well informed on the best crop nutrient management practices.

"It's just as critical today to pay special attention to managing plant nutrition, especially with so many new plant varieties, more intensive management, and much higher yields expected by growers," explains Dr. Ray Hoyum, Affiliate Professor in the Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences Department, College of Agriculture, Auburn University.

The ultimate goal of FOCAS, which stands for Foundation of Crops Agronomy and Soil fertility education, is to provide information that will allow for a change in attitudes and practices. Program recipients will better understand the critical role that crop nutrition plays and how the effective management of this key input can ensure better agronomic and economic success.

Presently, there are limited crop nutrition education programs available for agricultural retailers, growers, and livestock producers. Feedback in recent years from agricultural retailers suggests a growing need for broad-based educational opportunities which focus on up-to-date, science-based crop nutrition management.

As a result, there is an on-going demand to provide Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs) better access to continuing education credits in many areas of the US and Canada.

In the past, the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), which was a non-profit, science-based organization dedicated to the responsible management of plant nutrition for the benefit of mankind provided significant agronomic educational programming. IPNI, formerly the Potash and Phosphate Institute (PPI), had active national and international programs.

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