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NARR Home > Nutrient Management Program
Nutrient Management Program
Over the years, Maine has seen an increased awareness of non-point source pollution such as nutrients and sediments. It became essential to develop a statewide Nutrient Management Program to target agriculture, a significant nutrient contributor to the waters of Maine. One fundamental goal of the Program is to implement education opportunities and best management practices to reduce nutrient loads into our waterbodies.
The Maine Nutrient Management Law establishing a comprehensive Nutrient Management Program was enacted in 1998. The Nutrient Management Rules that were developed based on the Nutrient Management Law have last been updated in February 2001. Surprisingly, the drive to regulate how nutrients are handled and used came from the farming community itself and a conviction amongst agricultural leaders that the best way to address the nutrient management issues was by being proactive about them.
About the Nutrient Management Law
The Law has two main components around which the different initiatives of the Nutrient Management Program gravitate. The first component is the ban on winter manure spreading effective December 1 of a calendar year to March 15 of the following calendar year. To comply with the Law, producers need to have either a manure storage facility or identified suitable stacking sites where manure can be stored until it can be spread after the ban. The State realizes these requirements may be an important financial burden on Maine farmers. For this reason, the Department helped develop a Nutrient Management Grant Program, and a Loan Program administered by the Finance Authority of Maine. These initiatives are intended to help farm operations comply with the Nutrient Management Law.
The second key element of the Nutrient Management Law is the Nutrient Management Plan. Numerous operations that meet specific conditions are required to develop a Nutrient Management Plan. The development and implementation of a plan results in a more efficient use of nutrients on agricultural land, thus reducing non-point source pollution associated with agricultural operations and its impact on water quality.
In addition to the two core provisions outlined above, the Nutrient management Law also established a Nutrient Management Review Board, whose role is to make recommendations to the Commissioner on issues pertaining to Nutrient Management. There are 7 Board members, each representing a different aspect of the agricultural community.
Finally, the Law requires that livestock operations meeting specific conditions obtain a Livestock Operation Permit (LOP) from the Department of Agriculture. The LOP may also be a joint LOP/MPDES permit when applicable.
The Nutrient Management Program is related to various degrees to many other agricultural programs and activities like the Agricultural Compliance Program, the Right to Farm Law, as well as various organizations like the Finance Authority of Maine, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Offices and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD). This is an important component in making the program efficient and useful, both for the farming community and the general public. The Nutrient Management Team also represents well this teamwork effort, and plays a fundamental role in the continuous success of the Maine Nutrient Management Program.
If you have questions about the Nutrient Management Program, you can contact Mark Hedrich, Nutrient Management Coordinator either through e-mail at email@example.com or by calling 207-287-7608. You can also mail in your questions to: Nutrient Management Program, 28 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0028.
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