2013 Virginia Nutrient Management Plan Writing for Animal Operations request for proposals (RFP) closes April 5, 2013.
DCR works to manage both urban and agricultural nutrients found in fertilizers, manure, biosolids and other sources so that they retain their efficient use yet don't impair the quality of Virginia's ground and surface waters.
DCR uses various strategies to encourage proper land application of fertilizer, manure and sewage sludge for agricultural and urban purposes. Nutrient management specialists in DCR's regional offices provide direct technical assistance to farmers. They develop site-specific nutrient management plans to help farmers with manure testing for nutrient levels, calibrate nutrient application equipment, and coordinate soil nitrate testing in agricultural crop fields.
Nutrient management staff members teach farmers about nutrient management practices through demonstration field days, farmer meetings and individual contacts. DCR also develops educational materials, such as brochures promoting benefits of nutrient management planning and best management planning, for farmers.
Our staff works with state universities to develop technology capable of maximizing efficient nutrient use and minimizing losses to ground and surface waters. For example, the development of a soil nitrate test for corn resulted in reduced nitrogen use by an average of 46 pounds per acre on fields where the test was used. DCR also uses satellite based global positioning system data to better account for farmers' efforts to curb nutrient and sediment loss from their operations.
DCR also has a program to certify private and public sector nutrient management planners. Nutrient Management Training and Certification Regulations, which govern the program, were revised in January 2006. The regulations stipulate requirements for certification and criteria for nutrient management plans developed by certified individuals. DCR conducts training sessions and examinations every six months. There are more than 400 certified professional Nutrient Management Planners in Virginia.
The staff also works with DCR's Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance staff and soil and water conservation districts to facilitate preparation of Bay Preservation Act plans. These plans address soil erosion, nutrient management and integrated pest management on farms within Bay Preservation Areas as defined by Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Management Regulations.
DCR employees are responsible for nutrient management plan approval for producers requiring a Department of Environmental Quality-issued Virginia Pollution Abatement (VPA) permit for confined animal operations and, in some cases, VPA and Virginia Pollution Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) permits for the application of biosolids to land. Nutrient management field staff helps train water quality specialists employed by Virginia's soil and water conservation districts. Nutrient management specialists also provide plan writing assistance and support to approximately 20 counties that require farm nutrient management plans in local confined livestock zoning ordinances.
Click here to view a list of available training school courses, exam announcements and continuing education meetings.
DCR and the Virginia Poultry Federation now offer a poultry litter transport incentive program to facilitate the efficient use of poultry litter as a crop nutrient source in areas that most benefit from those nutrients. The aim is to encourage development of self-sustaining poultry litter markets in areas outside the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Through the program, assistance is provided at $15 per ton of litter to help cover additional transportation costs. Click here to learn more about the program.
Virginia has an innovative tax credit program for the purchase of more precise farm nutrient and pesticide application equipment. Recipients of the 25 percent tax credit must purchase equipment meeting state specifications and develop a nutrient management plan for their farm operations.
Virginia is a leader in implementing urban nutrient management strategies in cooperation with private industry to reduce nutrient runoff from lawns, office parks, golf courses and other developed lands. At the request of several retailers, DCR produced a video demonstrating environmentally responsible fertilizer and pesticide use at home. The agency also runs the Water Quality Improvement Agreement Program for urban lawn care retailers, lawn care companies and others who wish to be recognized for offering environmentally responsible products and services. Businesses that have signed such agreements offer their customers information about lawn care or the application of nutrients within established criteria that minimize nutrient loss by controlling application rates and timing. Voluntary participation in the program leads to reduced nutrient loss to Virginia's ground and surface waters, including the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
DCR recently added a Turf and Landscape Nutrient Management Planning category to its nutrient management program. Turf and landscape nutrient management plans are generally applicable to facilities such as golf courses, athletic field complexes, community parks, business parks, common areas in developed communities, etc. Each area of a facility receiving nutrients is evaluated within a nutrient management plan, which includes agronomic and environmentally sound nutrient application recommendations. A plan outlines fertility recommendations that meet plants’ nutrient needs and minimizes the loss of nutrients to the environment. DCR offers training schools and a certification program to professionals who wish to write turf and landscape nutrient management plans.
For more information about the Water Quality Agreement program or the Turf and the Landscape Certification program, contact DCR's urban nutrient management, Derik Cataldi, email@example.com, 804-371-7489.