NutrientStar is now owned and managed by Brookside Labs, Inc., a soil testing and professional development organization for independent crop advisors and their client farmers.

The problem is, farmers and their agricultural advisers have little way of knowing which tools perform as advertised without potentially costly, time-consuming trial and error – the only information available on many tools is limited to marketing materials with sparse data. At the top of the supply chain, big companies that are setting goals for fertilizer optimization find it difficult to verify their suppliers’ progress.

Enter NutrientStar. NutrientStar is an independent, third-party program that determines just how effective nutrient management tools are at helping farmers optimize their fertilizer use – and potentially save on input costs.

To provide farmers and their advisors with the best available information about performance of existing and emerging fertilizer management tools and products so they can choose those best suited to increase productivity, profitability, and environmental outcomes on their fields.

Meeting NutrientStar standards means you’re meeting your goals, wherever you are in the supply chain.

Food Companies and Manufacturers
The companies that manufacture and sell food products have set goals for more efficient fertilizer use in their supply chains, but they’re still searching for the best way to support tangible changes at the farm level. NutrientStar points farmers to the most effective tools for optimizing their fertilizer use. By recommending that suppliers use NutrientStar information to reach fertilizer efficiency goals, food companies and manufacturers will be able to more accurately claim progress on their goals.

Companies that create tools to help farmers manage nitrogen input can submit those tools to NutrientStar for assessment. When the tool appears as NutrientStar-reviewed, farmers, crop advisers and even food companies will gain confidence about its performance, giving the tool’s maker a competitive edge in the market. Companies will also benefit from having access to standardized field trial protocols and guidelines for research that will produce robust, credible performance data.

Crop Advisers/
Agricultural Service Providers
By turning to NutrientStar, these providers will have the most current, reliable information available on nutrient management tools to share with their farmer clients. When they recommend certain tools based on transparent performance data, their clients benefit and they build their reputations based on expertise.

More and more farmers are turning to nutrient management tools to help them use fertilizer more efficiently. No tool can be perfect 100% of the time, but thanks to NutrientStar, farmers can have greater confidence that their tool of choice can help them cut expenses, meet new sustainability demands coming down the supply chain, and even improve their yields.

Consumers pay much more attention these days to how their food is grown. When a food company or manufacturer can truthfully claim – and prove – that their foods are produced more sustainably, consumers are likely to reward that company with more of their business.
The NutrientStar program is built on…
Reliable, localized data
Tools and products are evaluated based on results of field trials by geographic region. If a company submits a tool for evaluation, but that tool has not previously undergone testing that meets NutrientStar protocol, our team will work with the company to plan and implement the necessary field trials. The company can choose to conduct the trials on its own, or for a fee through the NutrientStar field testing network.
Multiple entry points
The process of engaging with NutrientStar varies for every company. NutrientStar is designed not only to evaluate existing tools, but also to offer companies valuable feedback on their tools’ performance – so companies can submit tools for evaluation at any point in the development process, provided field trial data is submitted or field trials are planned.
At the heart of NutrientStar is our independent review panel. Our panel members are respected experts in soil science, nutrient management and precision agriculture technologies who rely on field-tested results to measure tools’ performance.
Meet the NutrientStar team

We’re here to help your organization meet its business and sustainability goals through NutrientStar. We work with companies throughout the review process, plus we’re available to food companies, crop advisers and farmers who want to learn how NutrientStar can benefit them.

Karen Chapman

NutrientStar Administrator, Appleseed Consulting, LLC


Karen Chapman pairs expertise in implementing farmer networks with top-notch program management skills to help every organization get the most from its engagement with NutrientStar. She helps the makers of nutrient management tools understand the review process and works with the review panel and NutrientStar team to assess the nutrient management tools that are submitted.

John McGuire

Co-Founder, S Squared | Owner/Manager, Simplified Technology Services


For 20 years, John McGuire has used his skills in data management, geographic information systems, remote sensing and computer programming to improve precision agriculture practices. He has an inside perspective on both agribusinesses and agricultural consulting. He co-founded consulting firm S Squared to partner with Environmental Defense Fund in the establishment and management of the NutrientStar program.

Greg Kneubuhler

Co-Founder, S Squared | President, G&K Concepts


Greg Kneubuhler, owner of G&K Concepts, an independent crop consulting firm, has nearly two decades of agronomic experience in improving corn, soybean and wheat production. His focus on precision nutrient management led to his role in the founding of S Squared and his leadership in building the framework for the NutrientStar program.

Dr. Geoffrey Ecker

NutrientStar Research Scientist | Assistant Professor of Biology, Arkansas Tech University

Dr. Ecker provides expert science and data analysis for the NutrientStar program. He draws on his skills in statistical analysis, geographic information systems, and agronomy to analyze the field trial data used to assess nutrient use efficiency products and tools. He earned his B.A. in Biology and Political Science from Goucher College, and his Ph.D in Plant Science from the University of Connecticut.