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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: June 27, 2017 12:02 PM
From: Representative David H. Zimmerman
To: All House members
Subject: Farmers Nutrient Management Plan – 90 Day Limit for Written Decision
Farmers who are required to have a nutrient management plan must submit their plans to either their local Conservation District or the State Conservation Commission. The reviewing agency has 90 days to approve, disapprove or modify a plan. If the reviewing agency fails to act within that timeframe and the plan elements were complete, the farmer may implement the plan. However, the agency continues its review for another up to 90 days to determine its action on the plan. As a matter of course, many farmers are reporting that agencies are taking 180 days for plan review.

Farmers are required to have approved nutrient management plans before they are legally allowed to apply or export manure for their crop year that is identified in the plan. As a result, farmers have to forecast six months in advance to determine which fields will be planted with particular crops and how they will apply nutrients. However, a variety of factors determines crop rotation and nutrient application, including crop yields, soil testing and Mother Nature. For farms operating as a Concentrated Animal Operation, plans have to be submitted before the first application of nutrients. For farms operated as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, farmers must have an approved nutrient management plan by October 1 in order to remain in compliance with state and federal laws.

It is much more realistic, and accurate, to have a farmer forecast three months in advance their crop rotation schedule and their nutrient application plans. This legislation would require the reviewing agency to render a written decision on a plan approval, modification or disapproval within 90 days. If the agency does not act within that time frame, the plan will be deemed approved.

Please join me in sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as HB1932