On September 30th 2017, Senate Bill 150 will be in effect for the entire state of Ohio. Part of this law is the responsibility of farmers to develop Voluntary Nutrient Management Plans and have them approved by SWCD board of supervisors or Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA).
Voluntary Nutrient Management Plans (or NMPs) will give affirmative defense to a farmer should anyone complain about use of commercial fertilizer, as long as the plan is being followed. These plans are for farmers using commercial fertilizer only – anyone using manure must have a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan or CNMP. Unlike a CNMP, which the district can complete for anyone that needs one, a NMP can be developed by the farmer following the Ohio Nutrient Management Workbook available from OSU Extension.
Another way to develop an NMP is if grid soil sampling and variable rate application are being used, the recommendations that a farmer receives back from the grid sampling will suffice as long as the time of year and method of fertilizer application are included. These plans also must follow Tri-state recommendations for P and K to be approved.
If a farmer would like the SWCD to develop a NMP, we can do that as well. We just need a current soil test for every field and the fertilizer products used, time of year they will be applied, and application method. ODA is in the process of approving a very nice spreadsheet that will make NMPs fairly quick and easy to read. The spreadsheet will also have a records page for each field where a farmer can write down the time, date, field conditions, 2 day weather forecast, what product was applied, etc. Good record keeping is paramount for defense in the event of a complaint. If anyone has any interest in developing an NMP or has any questions please feel free to contact us at the Coshocton SWCD.