Since no study has been conducted to analyze the potential impact of switching from organic to chemical fertilizer, it's possible that the effort to address a perceived P problem on farms will cause a new N concern, notes the Farm Bureau president.
"We say 'perceived phosphorus' problem," she adds, "because we know that the Chesapeake Bay Model doesn't currently give credit for most of the phosphorus control measures already taken on Maryland farms. It's possible that once the model is corrected and the new numbers are run, Maryland farmers will have already met their phosphorus reduction goals, without the need to implement the onerous PMT."
Regulatory battle not over
While the PMT has been stalled, it's far from dead. MDA will consider all comments and critical issues raised. Then it will develop an approach that addresses concerns raised to date, and resubmit a new proposal to the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review AELR in 2014 that includes a phased implementation schedule.
Hance says, "The Administration stands behind our commitment to EPA to implement the [federally mandated] Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) that ultimately provides for a healthy Chesapeake Bay. We'll meet our Chesapeake Bay restoration goals, taking every step possible to protect water quality and ensure the viability of our family farms in Maryland."