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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: May 7, 2019 05:30 PM
From: Senator Gene Yaw
To: All Senate members
Subject: Fertilizer Legislation
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation amending Title 3 (Agriculture) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (Fertilizer), setting clear standards for the application of fertilizer to turf, providing for labels and labeling and the disposition of funds.

In addition, the bill will also require all professional fertilizer applicators to be certified in proper application techniques and best management practices. This legislation is specifically focused on residential lawns and turf and will not apply to agricultural production.

The health of Pennsylvania’s streams and rivers is of critical importance to our economic future and quality of life. Unfortunately, thousands of miles of streams in the Commonwealth are impaired due to excess levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. Excess levels of these nutrients are also significant contributors to the impairment of the Chesapeake Bay, whose watershed covers 50 percent of our state.

For decades, Pennsylvania’s farmers have led the way to implement erosion and sedimentation controls, nutrient management plans and other best management practices on farms. More recently, wastewater treatment plants have begun to implement upgrades to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus emissions. Both sectors should be commended for their successful efforts. Unfortunately, as these sectors continue to implement nutrient reductions, high levels in urban and suburban storm water continue to grow. In the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, acres of turf now outnumber acres of corn.

This legislation will reduce the environmental impact of fertilizer applied to turf areas, such as lawns, golf courses and athletic fields, while ensuring that all turf areas within the Commonwealth will be able to receive adequate nutrients so that adverse turf health will not result as an unintended consequence.

Similar legislation has already been enacted in Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey, and the industry has expressed a strong desire for consistency across the region and state.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this vital legislation to protect our waterways.

Introduced as SB915