The California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting suggestions for projects to advance the environmental and agronomic use and handling of fertilizers under the Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP).

Priority areas of proposals, to be submitted for review as two-page suggestions, include irrigation interactions, fertilization practices, site-specific fertilizer technologies, and heavy metals in commercial inorganic fertilizers.

Other priorities are development of field monitoring tools, nutrient/pest interactions, education and public information, and handling, transfer and storage of fertilizer materials.

Irrigation interactions, for example, deal with water management as related to fertilizer use efficiency and the reduction of ground and surface water contamination. Key considerations are projects leading to maximum distribution uniformity and minimal fertilizer losses in tail water.

If a project suggestion is accepted, FREP staff will provide applicants with guidelines to prepare a detailed proposal.

Suggested limit per project is $30,000 per year, but larger projects will be considered and multiple applications are acceptable. Projects must be applicable to California conditions.

Project suggestions are due April 2, and other key deadlines are June 2001 for proposals due, October 200l for award notification, and February 2002 or later for project starting date.

Details are available by contacting Casey Walsh Cady, Program Coordinator, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Fertilizer Research and Education Program, 1220 N Street, Room A-472, Sacramento, CA 95814-5621. E-mail: ccady@cdfa.ca.gov. Phone: 916-654-5044. Fax: 916-653-2407.

E-mail: dan_bryant@intertec.com