A. This chapter describes the:
(1) Content requirements for a nutrient management plan;
(2) Requirements for plan recommendations by a certified nutrient management consultant or certified farm operator; and
(3) Requirements for the implementation of a nutrient management plan by a person who manages an agricultural operation.
B. A nutrient management plan prepared for an agricultural operation indicates how primary nutrients are to be managed annually on farm fields for plant and crop production and for the protection of water quality. Plans contain recommendations to the agricultural operator based on expected crop yield or plant production goals, existing nutrient levels in the soil, organic residuals, optimum timing and placement of nutrients, environmental protection, and normal agricultural practices, such as liming, tillage, and crop rotation. The Department certifies and licenses qualified individuals to prepare plans under COMAR 15.20.04 and requires agricultural operations to implement the plans under COMAR 15.20.07.
C. This chapter addresses nutrient management plans and recommendations for agricultural operations, including container or out-of-ground agricultural operations.
D. This chapter also describes the transition from the Phosphorus Site Index to the Phosphorus Management Tool as a means to identify potential risk of phosphorus loss from farms. Like the Phosphorus Site Index, the Phosphorus Management Tool will be employed when a soil sample analysis shows a phosphorus fertility index value (“P FIV”) of 150 or greater. Unless the transition schedule is adjusted as provided in this chapter, the Phosphorus Management Tool will be phased-in over a 7-year period as shown in the chart found in Regulation .10 of this chapter. Farms that have excess soil phosphorus will be placed in one of three tiers, as determined by the particular operation’s average phosphorus fertility index value. Farms with an average P FIV of 450 and greater will be the first operations required to begin implementing the Phosphorus Management Tool, but will be given a longer time-frame to fully implement it. Farms with an average P FIV of (1) 150 and greater, but less than 300, and (2) 300 and greater, but less than 450, will be required to begin implementing the Phosphorus Management Tool later but will be given less time to complete this transition.