December 13, 2011
CBF Issues Statement on USDA's New Nutrient Management Standard
(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Dr. Beth McGee, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Senior Water Quality Scientist, issued this statement following the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's nutrient management standard today. The standard will be used by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to help farmers and ranchers apply nutrients more efficiently.
"While agriculture has taken some important steps to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, it is clear from NRCS studies that more needs to be done. While the devil is always in the details, the revision of the NRCS nutrient management standard announced today is an important step in reducing pollution and improving local water quality. We look forward to working with NRCS and the states to ensure the new standard achieves their water quality goals.
"In specific areas of our region there is an excess of phosphorus in the soil, contributing to impairment of waterways. The standard may lead to limiting the additional application of phosphorus in those areas as well as prohibiting most winter application of manure. Together, these will likely lead to increased demand for alternative uses of manure, like waste to energy, that have environmental benefits that go beyond water quality.
"The standard will also more closely align a farmer's nutrient management and conservation plans. Implementation of these actions, and others that have been outlined, should lead to improved water quality in local rivers and streams, as well as more profitable farms."