What You Need to Know About Maryland's Nutrient Management Plan-Writing SummitThe following details were presented at the July 17, 2023 Nutrient Management Plan- Writing Summit:
Framework of Tentative New Agreement:
- MDA and UMD will enter into a 3 year MOU to continue funding UMD Nutrient Management plan writers to be renewed annually, contingent upon funding;
- The new program will be administered day-to-day by UMD Extension.
Funding & Staffing:
- Both MDA and UMD will seek more permanent funding to sustain the program. Currently, the program is funded primarily by the EPA;
- The UMD will seek ways to increase salaries and offer benefits for plan writers. Currently, UMD plan writers are hired on a contractual basis because of the uncertainty of continued annual funding by EPA.
Nutrient Management (NuMan) Software improvement:
- Build a more modern software program that helps our industry meet its environmental stewardship roles by ensuring better inclusion of today’s modern agricultural production systems, incorporation of the latest research, and incorporating web-based accessibility on a variety of devices.
New Nutrient Management Oversight Committee:
- MDA and UMD will form an oversight committee, chaired by the Secretary of Agriculture and the Dean of UMD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, to:
- Oversee the plan writers
- Draft annual reports on the program that include data such as number of engaged farms/farmers, number of plans developed, acres represented by plans, and reduction of pounds of nitrogen and phosphorus entering waterways as a result of the plans;
- Set goals for increasing the percentage of plans written through UMD.
Expanded Training Opportunities:
- MDA will hire a NM Training Coordinator;
- More training opportunities will be available for both Farmer Training Certification (FTC) and developing and delivering classes for consultants;
- Develop online training modules.
- UMD will work with MDA to develop educational programs directed to producers to encourage greater participation in the Nutrient Management Program.
For more information, please read the news release
or contact the Nutrient Management Program at 410-841-5959.
About Maryland's Nutrient Management Program
Maryland law requires all farmers grossing $2,500 a year of more or livestock producers with 8,000 pounds or more of live animal weight to follow nutrient management plans when fertilizing crops and managing animal manure. Nutrient management plans specify how much fertilizer, manure or other nutrient sources may be safely applied to crops to achieve yields and prevent excess nutrients from impacting waterways. Because of their complexity, these plans must be prepared by a certified University of Maryland specialist, certified private consultant, or farmer who is trained and certified by the department to prepare his or her own plan.
Maryland's Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT) regulations are now in full effect. Farmers with Soil phosphorus Fertility Index Values of 150 or greater are now required to follow PMT guidelines in their nutrient management planning and applications. Questions? Please contact your
regional nutrient management specialist. For the Phosphorus Management Tool Technical Users Guide, click here.
Farmers are required to submit copies of their initial nutrient management plans to the Nutrient Management Program, update plans before they expire, take new soil samples a minimum of once every three years, obtain manure analyses (if using manure) at least every other year, and submit Annual Implementation Reports documenting how they implemented their plans during the previous year. These reports are due to the department by March 1. 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. Farmers who are certified to prepare their own nutrient management plans are exempt from this requirement.
Click here for upcoming voucher training and farmer certification classes.
The department trains and certifies qualified applicants to provide farmers with nutrient management plans that maximize crop yields while minimizing nutrient losses to the environment. Consultants are required to take six hours of continuing education classes to renew their certificates following the first year of certification and 12 hours of continuing education classes every three years thereafter. Businesses that provide nutrient management consulting services must be licensed by the department and are required to file an annual report on their activities. Individuals interested in taking the Nutrient Management Certification Exam are encouraged to attend a two-day training course on the Fundamentals of Nutrient Management. Classes are held in early summer and the certification exam is usually given during the first week in August. For a training and exam schedule,