Time To Comment On Fertilizer Regulations

You still have a chance to comment on proposed fertilizer regulations.

Published on: Dec 23, 2011

You can make comments on proposed, state-mandated rules for new fertilizer regulations to the Office of the Indiana State Chemist until January 7. It affects use of fertilizer on Indiana farms. Fertilizer is defined as either commercial fertilizer or manure.

Matt Pearson with the Office of the Indiana State Chemist notes that this is NOT the rule and regulation that takes effect January 1, 2012. That rule regards licensing of people who apply fertilizer for hire or fertilizer (manure) from CFO operations. It will be effective and licenses will be required in 2012.

Instead, this proposed rule came out of action in the legislature last session. The idea is to close loopholes, largely with animal manure application, Pearson notes. Current practice allows large feeding operations to sell their manure, and then no longer be regulated as far as what happens to that manure. The new rule as proposed would eliminate that loophole.

What this new rule does is establish a baseline in Indiana for this material. Currently, there is no regulation on storage and application of the actual product itself. The rule would not only apply to those who produce manure, but to those who purchase and stockpile it.

As part of the regulations, Pearson notes, distances from wells and waterways for application will be specified. That will apply for both commercial fertilizer and manure. However, there will be no soil fertility limits as part of these rules as proposed.

"The basic idea is for everyone to have a plan regarding fertilizer," Pearson says. "You don't send it to us. What kind of plan you have is pretty much left up to you. The requirement will be to have a plan. In case of an incident or an inspection, you must be able to produce that plan."

What the proposed rule would do is basically allow the rules of the Office of the Indiana State Chemist to line up with rules on the books and enforced by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, or IDEM.

Comments will be accepted, only in writing, until January 7. Send them to Michael Hancock, fertilizer administrator, at: hancock@purdue.edu, fax to 765-494-4331, or mail to the Office of the Indiana State Chemist, 175 S. University St., West Lafayette, IN 47907-2063. You can find the rule through the link at the Indiana State Chemist's Website. Visit: www.isco.purdue.edu.