ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Chesapeake Bay area crop and livestock
producers are in their second year of government-mandated nutrient management
Each state’s agriculture department within the Chesapeake
Bay’s watershed is required to administer the federal requirements to meet
nitrogen- and phosphorous-reduction goals.
Several members of the Illinois Corn Growers Association
recently visited the Maryland Department of Agriculture to see how the program
Under the mandate, all
farmers who earn at least $2,500 a year or manage at least 8,000 pounds of live
animal weight must, by law, operate their farms according to a nutrient
Farmers must submit copies of that plan
to the state ag department, update it before it expires, take soil samples at
least once every three years, obtain manure analyses, if using manure, and
submit annual implementation reports documenting how they implemented their plan
during the previous year.
Also, farmers who apply nutrients to 10
or more acres a year are required to attend a two-hour nutrient applicator
course once every three years.
Nutrient management plans are
science-based documents that help farmers manage their fields to maximize crop
yields and minimize nutrient runoff. They stipulate how fertilizers, including
animal manure, are applied to fields.
Nutrient management plans are written
by trained and certified consultants.
Maryland trains and certifies these
consultants, some of whom are farmers, to write nutrient management plans.
There were 5,382 farms in Maryland required to follow
nutrient management plans last year.