Southern Regional Water Program

Research, Extension & Education Water Quality Programs through the Land Grant University System

Nutrient Management Planning

Nutrient Management Links:

Regulatory focus on nutrient contamination of water resources has increased dramatically over the last decade. In most states, one or more watersheds have identified impairments due to nutrient pollution from agricultural or non-agricultural sources, or more commonly, from a combination of these sources. New laws have been enacted in many states which expand current regulations and/or include special requirements for nutrient management plan development. In some cases, these requirements affect land owners with gross agricultural receipts of $2,500 or more, while other programs take effect on land parcels as small as 10 acres. More recently, programs have been initiated to target nutrient management in urban areas associated with municipalities, golf courses, schools, business and industry and homes.

Federal and state laws addressing management of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) require nutrient management as part of the permitting process. In addition, recent changes in the USDA-NRCS Nutrient Management Standard (Code 590) require development of nutrient management plans in all cases where technical assistance involves nutrient management, including animal waste management and agricultural crop production. Comprehensive nutrient management planning (CNMP) also will place new requirements on animal agriculture for environmental management and protection.

Specific information on state regulations and resources (technical assistance, cost-share assistance) available to support nutrient management planning can be obtained from your state water quality regulatory agency, state soil and water conservation agency or the Cooperative Extension.

In response to these issues, Land Grant Universities in the Southern Region have developed targeted research, education and extension programs to address both scientific and educational needs. Programs have been initiated in several states to qualify third party vendors to provide nutrient management planning services. Some states have developed comprehensive training and certification programs that require participation in an organized training program, successful completion of an examination, and acquisition of continuing education units.

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