Delmarva ag industry supports next phase of phosphorus management

Maryland Phosphorous Management Tool could take up to $10 million in resources to implement.

December 20, 2019

2 Min Read
Delmarva ag industry supports next phase of phosphorus management

Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc., the Maryland Farm Bureau and the Maryland Grain Producers Assn. voted not to request a delay in implementing the next phase of the Maryland Phosphorous Management Tool (PMT). All three groups are represented on the advisory committee studying how the state should move forward with this regulation.

The committee voted not to recommend a delay when it met Dec. 13, and the groups said their votes were included in part of the majority vote. “Our recommendation goes to the desk of Maryland’s secretary of agriculture for his consideration in making a final decision by Dec. 31, 2019,” the groups said.

“Our three groups do share some of the real concerns about resources and infrastructure available to move forward with implementation of the PMT. These concerns were highlighted in a study by Salisbury University’s BEACON, which indicated that it could take up to $10 million in resources to implement the PMT,” the groups said. “Even so, we believe requesting a delay was not the best decision we could make for our members. We have known the PMT was coming for several years now, but the infrastructure to handle the storage, transport and application of manure and replacement with synthetic fertilizer have not ramped up because there has not been the demand. Unless the next phase of the PMT is implemented, we will not know what our members need to move forward.”

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The groups added that they believe an action plan to help farmers adapt to implementation of the PMT is the most important next step.

“There is no doubt there will be additional fields throughout the state, especially on the lower Eastern Shore, that will not be able to apply animal manure, and that manure will have to move to other areas that can properly use it as the valuable organic nutrient source it is. Farmers, chicken companies, agribusiness, manure brokers and the state government must work together to meet the challenges PMT implementation presents. When we succeed, we can make a case for freedom to operate in a business climate where phosphorus runoff is being properly addressed and managed to benefit the environment and protect water quality,” the groups added.

As one of the members noted, “farmers will figure it out.” That is what farmers have always done, “but we will do all we can to make sure farmers aren’t alone in figuring it out. We are committed to ensuring the resources are available to keep our farmers successful throughout implementation of the PMT. This is a team effort,” the organizations said in a joint release.

Related:Pioneering technology may recover phosphorus from manure, sludge

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