October 12, 2023
By Graham Binder

University of Maryland Extension (UME) has launched an enhanced nutrient management planning process designed to adapt to modern farming practices and operations that better align with Maryland’s agricultural regulations and environmental goals. Moving forward, UME will now administer and coordinate statewide nutrient management planning following the finalization of the agreement between the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) and the Maryland Department of Agriculture. 

This reinvigorated effort marks a significant opportunity for enhanced collaboration between UME led advisors and the farming community. The program will build on its prior successes and service model that includes no cost nutrient management plans; soil, manure and tissue sampling assistance and guidance; farmer training and certification; continuing education training opportunities, and much more. 

Maryland law requires farmers grossing at least $2,500 a year or livestock producers with at least 8,000 pounds of live animal weight to follow nutrient management plans when fertilizing crops and managing animal manure. Nutrient management plans specify how much fertilizer, manure or other nutrient sources may be safely applied to crops to achieve yields and prevent excess nutrients from impacting waterways. 

Key highlights of the reinvigorated program:

Statewide Coverage: UME will increase staffing to provide nutrient management planning coverage across the entire state. Farmers across Maryland can benefit from this service, ensuring sustainable and responsible agricultural practices.

Staffing and Training: As part of this initiative, the university is in the process of hiring and training additional nutrient management advisors. These advisors will play a crucial role in assisting farmers and facilitating compliance with Maryland's regulations. There are multiple positions statewide at various locations, with more information available at https://ejobs.umd.edu/postings/113947.

Scientifically Grounded Plans: Nutrient management plans developed through this program are rooted in scientific principles and adhere to Maryland's regulatory framework, promoting both profitable and sustainable farming practices.

“The University of Maryland Extension is committed to the improvement of this program and increasing farmer accessibility to help them meet their regulatory goals and preserve Maryland’s waterways,” said Craig Beyrouty, dean and director of AGNR. “We are thrilled to launch this new model in our ongoing efforts to support Maryland’s agricultural community.” 

The University of Maryland Extension encourages all farmers and stakeholders interested in nutrient management planning to reach out to their respective county Extension offices. These offices serve as valuable resources and points of contact for accessing this essential service and connecting with trained advisors. For more information on the UME Nutrient Management Program visit go.umd.edu/anmp and for a list of Extension offices visit https://extension.umd.edu/locations