Prior to the Chesapeake Bay Agreement, programs already existed to implement some aspects of water quality improvement, but no program was in place to specifically address nutrient management planning. Nutrient management planning is (1) a series of Best Management Practices (BMPs) aimed at reducing nutrient pollution by balancing nutrient inputs with crop nutrient requirements and (2) considered one of the most effective means of controlling excessive nutrient applications.
Since 1992, legislation has required the certification of nutrient management consultants and has enabled licensed, private sector nutrient management consultants to play a major role alongside those in the public sector. Certification, examination, and licensing are administered by the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) in consultation with a Nutrient Management Advisory Committee.
Continuing education courses are also conducted as a joint effort between the University of Maryland Extension Agricultural Nutrient Management Program and the MDA.