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NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT PLANNING IN GEORGIA: AN OVERVIEW OF REGULATIONS, EDUCATION AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Pp. 411-417 in the Ninth International Animal, Agricultural and Food Processing Wastes Proceedings of the 12-15 October 2003 Symposium (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina USA), Publication Date 12 October 2003.  701P1203.(doi:10.13031/2013.15277)
Authors:   T. M. Bass, L. M. Risse, and J. W. Worley
Keywords:   Manure, animal waste, nutrient management, Georgia, NMP, CNMP, AFO, CAFO, land application, nitrogen, phosphorus, Clean Water Act, NPDES

In congruence with Federal strategies, Georgia has adopted the Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) as the method to address non-point source pollution from animal feeding operations. Animal Feeding Operation (AFO) and National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations are administered in Georgia by the Environmental Protection Division. The regulatory structure for AFOs is based on the federally accepted animal unit (AU) scale. All producers above 300 AUs are required to have a Nutrient Management Plan as part of their permit, which also carries other requirements related to their respective size. Dry litter poultry production is exempt at this time of publication, but will come under regulation in fall of 2003 (CFR. 2000).

A certified planning specialist is required to write and/or review plans before they can be turned in to the state. Certified planners are agricultural and environmental professionals that have attended 2 days of instruction and satisfactorily completed an exam. It is the philosophy of the Georgia program that all permitted producers should have an understanding of nutrient management as well as participate in the development of their plan. To achieve this, producers must also complete a similar 2-day nutrient management and environmental stewardship training course as well as pass a certification exam.

In Georgia, multiple agencies and private and public entities are cooperatively addressing needs relating to NMPs, such as development of regulations, enforcement, education and technical assistance. These groups include: GA Environmental Protection Division, GA Department of Agriculture, University of Georgia (UGA) College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UGA Cooperative Extension Service (UGA-CES), USDA-NRCS, various commodity associations, GA Soil and Water Conservation Commission and private consultants. The bulk of NMP training, writing/development and technical assistance is currently being handled by the Cooperative Extension Service, both at the state and county level. It is anticipated that the addition of dry litter poultry to a similar regulatory structure will require additional persons and entities to properly address needs.

To date, Georgia has trained approximately 400 operators and certified 233, accounting for nearly all swine, dairy and liquid waste managed poultry farms under the requirement. Approximately 170 nutrient management planning specialists are certified, of whom the majority are county Extension agents. The Georgia program has been implemented with little cost to the farmer. A perceived strength of the program is the farmer and employee involvement in development of the plan. The lessons learned by Georgia and other states involved in regulated nutrient management can benefit the refinement of current systems as well as the development of new ones.

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