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

CPP, glyphosate, dicamba, atrazine,
Crop InputsReport: Congress Pressing EPA On Glyphosate Review Handling
May 16, 2016
Via Reuters.com reporter P.J. Huffstutter: U.S. lawmakers have asked EPA to explain why it published – and then withdrew – Read More
Anhydrous Ammonia tanks
LegislationARA: OSHA Announces PSM Formal Rulemaking Intentions
May 11, 2016
In separate communications earlier this week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced plans to conduct formal rulemaking to Read More
Crop InputsBayer: 5 Reasons We Disagree With Maryland Neonic Ban
April 12, 2016
We’re disappointed that the Maryland legislature chose not to stand up for sound science and the rights of Maryland’s homeowners Read More
Michael Hazzan, Technical Manager at AcuTech, PSM Training
LegislationPreparing For Process Safety Management: What Ag Retailers Need To Do
April 3, 2016
By and large, ag retailers like to use three letter acronyms in their day-to-day operations. Most talk about getting a Read More
Trending Articles
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Crop InputsReport: Bayer Eyeing Monsanto For Possible Mega-Merger
May 16, 2016
Bayer AG is exploring a potential bid for U.S. competitor Monsanto Co. in a deal that would create the world’s Read More
Aerial Drone
Precision AgA Deeper Dive Into The Future Of Precision Ag
May 9, 2016
For about two decades now, through the good and the bad times, the ups and the downs inherent in agriculture, Read More
Palmer amaranth in soybean stubble
HerbicidesWSSA: Billions In Potential Economic Losses From Uncontrolled Weeds
May 4, 2016
What losses would corn and soybean growers experience if they were forced to eliminate herbicides and other control techniques from Read More
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
Latest News
ManagementWashington Visit and Bayer/Monsanto Deal Update
May 26, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discusses a recent trip to DC and the latest news on the proposed pairing Read More
Fertilizer closeup in hand
Industry NewsVerdesian: Striking A Balance Between Yield & ROI
May 26, 2016
Finely tuned nutrient management plans are helping farmers throughout the U.S. improve nutrient use efficiency, increase return on investment (ROI) Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes Announces Minnesota Water Quality Pa…
May 25, 2016
Governor Mark Dayton and Land O’Lakes, Inc. President and CEO Chris Policinski today announced a new public-private partnership to protect Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsArysta LifeScience Establishes Global Headquarters In R…
May 25, 2016
Arysta LifeScience has announced plans to relocate its global headquarters from West Palm Beach, FL, to Cary, NC, over the Read More
fertilizer blending and storage, Top 100
BlendersCHS Dakota Expansion Features AGCO’s GSI InterSys…
May 25, 2016
The continued growth of precision agriculture has increased farmer use of customized fertilizer blends best-suited for their soil conditions. Several Read More
ManagementAgriculture 3.5: A Bumpy Road Ahead
May 24, 2016
You may have read my article a few years ago on Agriculture 3.0, which is a term I coined to Read More
Topcon’s X30 display with CropSpec sensors
EquipmentGPS Autosteer Systems: Product Updates From Precision A…
May 24, 2016
Throughout 2015 GPS Steering solutions continued to evolve from what was once an after-market add on, to today’s cab where Read More
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojThe Precision Ag Revolution Continues
May 24, 2016
It’s funny how much “the first time” tends to mean to someone as they get older. I sometimes can’t recall Read More
Eric Wintemute, AMVAC
Precision AgAMVAC Ups The Ante With New Precision Ag Technology
May 24, 2016
A potentially industry-changing at-plant soil treatment system from American Vanguard Corp., or AMVAC, is coming soon to large growers in Read More
Dry and Liquid Plant
CropLife 100CropLife 100 Map
May 24, 2016
The new CropLife 100 map shows the locations of each of the headquarters of the 2015 CropLife 100 retailers. The interactive Read More
Southern States Cooperative
Corn Field
Industry NewsTiger-Sul Names Veteran Account Manager To Lead Central…
May 23, 2016
With the continuing growth of the sulphur bentonite and precision crop nutrient industry, global agriculture firm H.J. Baker has announced that Read More
Bayer sign
Industry NewsReuters: Bayer Defies Critics With $62 Billion Monsanto…
May 23, 2016
German drugs and crop chemicals group Bayer has offered to buy U.S. seeds company Monsanto for $62 billion in cash, Read More
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Industry NewsCompass Minerals Hires Industry Veteran To Lead Plant N…
May 19, 2016
Compass Minerals has hired plant nutrition industry veteran Vatren Jurin to steer the company’s portfolio expansion into specialty liquid micronutrient Read More
ASMARK Retailers LIVE! Tour 2016 Group shot The Andersons
CropLife 100The Andersons Rejects Unsolicited Proposal From HC2
May 19, 2016
The Andersons, Inc. has announced that its Board of Directors has rejected two non-binding, highly conditional, unsolicited proposals from HC2 Read More
glyphosate
Crop InputsWHO: Glyphosate ‘Unlikely’ To Cause Cancer
May 16, 2016
Via Reuters.com reporter Kate Kelland: The weed-killing pesticide glyphosate, made by Monsanto and widely used in agriculture and by gardeners, Read More