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Revised Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan Draft Released for Public Comment

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) released a draft revision of the Minnesota’s Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan (NFMP) for public comment today. The NFMP is the state’s blueprint for prevention or minimization of the impacts of nitrogen fertilizer on groundwater.

In 2010, MDA began the revision process to reflect current activities, interagency water protection programs and implementation work, and to better align it with current water resource conditions and programs. MDA convened a multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee and conducted a detailed analysis of issues related to nitrates in groundwater. The revisions were based primarily on input from the Committee with consideration for past NFMP implementation experience, input from related programs, increased knowledge about occurrences of elevated nitrate in groundwater, and advances in agricultural technology and management practices.

The revised NFMP includes the following:

  1. An emphasis on prevention of groundwater contamination by promoting fertilizer Best Management Practices (BMPs) and other beneficial practices;
  2. Extensive testing of private wells in areas with row crop agriculture and vulnerable groundwater;
  3. A new phased approach to assessing and prioritizing areas with nitrate contamination in groundwater, with guidance for determining each phase;
  4. An emphasis on involving local farmers and communities in problem solving for local groundwater concerns; and,
  5. Consideration of alternative land management and cropping practices in highly vulnerable areas.

To assist the public in understanding these issues and the NFMP, MDA will be hosting a series of public meetings across the state during the month of September. Locations and times of the meetings, the revised plan, and other supporting information will be posted on the MDA

The public comment period will end November 1, 2013.