2013 Ag Retail Outlook: Shaping Nutrient Management Policy Through Education

Water will be the number one issue for agriculture in 2013. Will the drought pattern continue? How will water demands be rationed among irrigation, navigation and endangered species? Although water quantity may be the headline issue, the negotiation toward local water quality policies will also impact future generations of farmers.

In the Chesapeake Bay watershed, state nutrient management policies have become the most restrictive regulations in the nation. These policies, which are designed to protect the environment, have tremendous financial cost to farmers and have lasting social impacts on the risks for families to retain farm ownership.

There is the opportunity in your state for 2013 to advance water quality policy based on good science that balances environmental, economic and social sustainability. But there is also the threat that these policies will be developed by well-intentioned people that do not understand crop management or economics.

These state water quality policy opportunities (or threats) will come in three shapes in 2013.

In April 2013, EPA will propose expansions to the federal permit for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) to include additional animal operations and also increase the restrictions on land application of nutrients. States with delegated authority from EPA will need to address these additional criteria in order to maintain authority to issue individual and general permits.

Mississippi River basin states may initiate the process toward Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) for rivers with strategies to reduce nutrient pollution. For example, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad announced November 19, 2012, their proposed “Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.”

EPA and USDA NRCS have been working with states to design assessment programs for individual farms that assure that a farm “voluntarily” meets state water quality goals. Farmers hope these programs will shield them from future state regulations. Minnesota intends to establish an Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program to “provide certainty to producers that their attainment and maintenance of certification meets water quality goals and standards of the State.” Virginia has passed legislation that provides a farmer a “presumption of compliance” with state water quality standards and the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, by implementing a Resource Management Plan. In Louisiana, farmers who complete the Master Farmer Program are presumed to be in compliance with Louisiana’s soil and water conservation requirements.

The challenge for 2013 is: will your state be developing water quality policies that are balanced for agriculture, or instead, place an unreasonable burden on farmers? The answer will be influenced by the state’s agricultural stakeholders: farm organizations, retailers, and crop advisors who step up to the table and educate the policy-makers.

For most non-ag people, the simplistic approach in any water quality policy is to advocate reductions of nutrient applications rates. If there is excess nitrogen or phosphorous in surface or ground water, just have farmers apply less.

Ag stakeholders must deliver the message that farmers are implementing the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship to maintain economic, environmental and social sustainability. We must advocate that nutrient pollution can best be minimized through increased nutrient use efficiency. Farmers should calculate the right rate, select the right form of nutrients, apply those nutrients at the right time, and apply in the soil at the right place.

In Pennsylvania, we have focused on the revised NRCS 590 standard, which defines “the management of nutrients as the right amount, right source, right placement and right timing of the application of nutrients to ensure adequate soil fertility for plant production and to minimize the potential for environmental degradation.”

PennAg Industries Association and other agricultural stakeholders have formed the “PA 4R Alliance” to collectively work with farmers to deliver science-based systems that improve crop productivity through increased nutrient use efficiency and reduced losses of nutrients to the environment.  We will pursue opportunities to: 1) increase the productivity and profitability of Pennsylvania farms; 2) enhance environmental conservation; and 3) expand the adoption by Pennsylvania farmers of sustainable nutrient stewardship systems.

Where can you start? Ag retailers and crop advisors must educate state policy-makers on current farm-specific nutrient management practices. The models used by states should include accurate data on local yields, fertilizer and manure application practices.

Your knowledge and shared experience can make a difference toward the establishment of good agricultural nutrient policy in your state in 2013.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Legislation Stories

CHS St. Paul, MN fertilizer terminal
LegislationICGA Praises President Trump’s Remarks on Waterways Infrastructure
June 12, 2017
Illinois Corn Growers Association President Justin Durdan, a farmer from Utica, issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s comments Read More
Corn soil
LegislationARA Member Testifies Before Senate Ag Committee
May 25, 2017
Agricultural retailers stand on the front-lines of the American economy. As trusted advisors to America’s farmers, ag retailers are uniquely Read More
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Agriculture
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
Trump, Senate, Cabinet
LegislationTrump’s EPA Appointee Dismisses Half of Major Scientific Review Board at Agency
May 8, 2017
(Via NYTimes.com) EPA has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what Read More
Trending Articles
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
Redbanded-stinkbug-on-soybean-Photo-credit-Thomas-County-Ag
Crop InputsExperts: Mild Winter, Early Planting Will Increase Soybean Insect Threat
June 12, 2017
Higher than average temperatures this past winter affected much of the nation, especially the South and Midwest. The National Centers Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto ‘Picks Its Battles’ by Nixing Deere Deal
May 23, 2017
Having been in the trade journalism game since the mid-1980s, I remember several watershed moments during my career. One of Read More
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Agriculture
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentSpray Application: A Nozzle Renaissance
May 2, 2017
If you had asked four-decade ag veteran Mark Bartel, President of Wilger Inc., just a few years ago what lay Read More
Latest News
ManagementDow Field Day and More Cooperative Consolidation
June 28, 2017
CropLife Editor discusses his recent attendance at the Dow AgroSciences Field Day in Indiana and shares news on another pair Read More
Young Corn Plants
Eric SfiligojLaunching New Seed Traits: Wait on China . . . Or Else!
June 26, 2017
In life, no one likes the waiting game. In agriculture, however, playing the waiting game is very important – especially Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Speaks on Dicamba Issues in Arkansas
June 26, 2017
Monsanto’s Chief Technology Officer, Robb Fraley, issued the following statement following the Arkansas State Plant Board’s proposal to ban dicamba, Read More
Corn Field
Seed/BiotechCorn Insect Bt Technologies Offer Cost-effective, Proac…
June 26, 2017
When farm economics are challenging, farmers look for ways to bolster profit margins, including reducing input costs. Some may think Read More
Crop InputsArkansas Plant Board Votes to Ban Dicamba — Now W…
June 23, 2017
The Arkansas State Plant Board has voted to pass a proposed emergency rule to ban the use of in-crop dicamba, Read More
Engenia soybeans
Crop InputsBASF: ‘Closely Monitoring’ Dicamba Situatio…
June 22, 2017
BASF, whose Engenia herbicide is the target of more than 200 drift complaints in Arkansas, emailed the following statement to Read More
ManagementConsolidation Update
June 22, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss progress on manufacturer consolidation, and another big move for Midwest cooperative Central Valley Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
Crop InputsThreat of Dicamba Ban Looms in Arkansas
June 22, 2017
The Arkansas State Plant Board has rejected a proposed ban on the use of dicamba herbicide, but a procedural error Read More
Potash Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium-PotashCorp to become Nutrien upon Merger Complet…
June 21, 2017
Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. have announced today that once the anticipated merger transaction closes, the new Read More
Crop InputsMidwestern BioAg Hosts TerraNu Fertilizer Plant Opening…
June 20, 2017
Last Friday, Midwestern BioAg was joined by over 80 local farmers, media and staff to celebrate the grand opening of Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsAligned Ag Distributors Names New President
June 19, 2017
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC announced this morning the appointment of Mary Tolke to the position of President/CEO, effective July 1. Read More
ManagementPlotting Corn, AGCO/Asmark’s Applicator Training Center…
June 15, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about their recent visits to Columbus, OH, and Bloomington, IL, along with an Read More
Seed/BiotechDow AgroSciences Announces Launch of Enlist Corn for 20…
June 14, 2017
Enlist corn will be commercially available in the U.S. for the 2018 growing season. Dow AgroSciences announced the launch today Read More
ASMARK AGCO Applicator Training Center
EmployeesAsmark, AGCO Open Training Center for Beginning Applica…
June 13, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute have opened a new Applicator Training Center, created in a collaboration between the two Read More
Power to Do More Contest Winners
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Announces Three Winners in Power to Do…
June 13, 2017
Thousands of votes have been cast and three farmers have been awarded the power to do more with a $10,000 Read More
Frogeye leaf spot
FungicidesStrobilurin-resistant Frogeye Leaf Spot Threat Looms wi…
June 13, 2017
Heavy spring rainfall throughout the South and Midwest delayed planting and created the perfect environment for diseases like frogeye leaf Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
CHS St. Paul, MN fertilizer terminal
LegislationICGA Praises President Trump’s Remarks on Waterwa…
June 12, 2017
Illinois Corn Growers Association President Justin Durdan, a farmer from Utica, issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s comments Read More