Some 5,500 Maryland farmers are now receiving their 2010 Nutrient Management Annual Implementation Reporting forms in the mail. Those reports are due back at the Maryland Department of Agriculture by March 1.
Farmers regulated under Maryland's Nutrient Management Program are required to follow nutrient management plans on their farms and submit AIRS describing how they utilized nutrients. State Ag Secretary Earl Hance says the form is revised to "help us to better characterize how farmers are managing nutrients."
The changes will help present a more accurate picture of agriculture's role in protecting water quality as we move forward with the Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort, he adds. In previous years, farmers reported manure and other organic nutrient sources as total tons or gallons applied.
This year, the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium content of all nutrients applied is to be reported in pounds. A calculation worksheet and lookup tables will help determine the amount contained in each source.
An Excel spreadsheet calculator will be available on MDA's web site to help convert nutrients contained in manure/organic sources to specific rates of nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium. You can also file AIRs electronically via a fillable PDF reporting form also available on the site.
The electronic form has been reformatted to make it more user-friendly. Go to www.mda.state.md.us, and clicking on Nutrient Management. The electronic form appears in the upper right corner of the screen as a PDF with fillable fields.
MDA strongly encourages farmers to take advantage of electronic reporting to reduce processing time and virtually eliminate data entry errors. For more information, call the Nutrient Management Program at 410-841-5959.