Nutrient Management Program
Nutrient Management Act
The Nutrient Management Act is the first law in Pennsylvania to regulate oversight of nutrient plans on certain farms. Prior to the Act being signed into law, problems with nutrient pollution were administered under the Clean Streams Law which dealt only with surface waters. The Clean Streams Law applies to ALL farms using manure. Act 38 imposes additional requirements on high-density animal operations or Concentrated Animal Operations (CAOs).
A farm is determined to be a CAO when the animal density exceeds 2 animal units per acre on an annualized basis (AEU). An animal unit is defined as 1000 pounds of animal live weight. Farms with a total of less than 8 AEU's are not required to implement an approved nutrient management plan regardless of the animal density on the farm. Want to know where you are with your animal numbers? This spreadsheet can be used to calculate your animal density.
Nutrient management is an effective tool that benefits not only the farmer, but the environment as well.
To discuss how a nutrient management plan can benefit your operation or for questions concerning nutrient management, please contact:
Manure management regulations (Chapter 91.) have been in effect since the mid 1980’s. Manure Management Plans are required for all operations that generate and or utilize manure. Do you know if you are in compliance with Pennsylvania’s regulations regarding manure production and application on your farm? District staff can assist you in writing a Manure Management Plan customized to fit your farm. You also have the option to write your own plan using the workbook. The manual has an example plan as a reference you can use as you write your plan. The manual also includes all the manure management regulations. After completing the Manure Management Plan, please contact the District’s Nutrient Management Specialist so they can verify your plan meet state requirements.
Resource Enhancement And Protection Program (REAP)
REAP is a first-come, first-served program that has no ranking system. REAP is an annual program, that runs on the fiscal year July 1st of the year until June 30th of the following year. The program is administered by the State Conservation Commission (SCC) and the tax credits are awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. There is typically a 13-million-dollar allocation of tax credits available each year. Eligible applicants receive between 50% and 90% of the project cost in the form of State tax credits for up to $250,000 per operation in a 7-year timeframe. The tax credits can be used incrementally (as needed) for up to 15 years to pay PA state income tax. In order to be eligible, farmers will need current plans. Agricultural operations MUST have a current and up-to-date: Conservation Plan or Agricultural E&S Plan on all acres that are under managerial control at the time of application, and a Nutrient Management Plan (for a CAO or CAFO) or Manure Management Plan – required of all operations that have animals or utilize manure. The written plans must be on-schedule for full implementation in order to be considered “current”. The cost of developing and implementing these plans are included to qualify for the tax credit. Other items that qualify are farm best management practices, waste storage facilities, no-till drills and much more. The REAP Application and Guidelines can be found at www.agriculture.pa.gov/Plants_Land_Water/StateConservationCommission/REAP/Pages/default.aspx
For more information about the REAP Program, please call the Conservation District office or Joel Semke the Resource Enhancement and Protection Program Administrator from the SCC at (717) 705-4032.
Commercial Manure Hauling
In 2004, the Commercial Manure Hauler and Broker Certification Act (Act 49) was signed into Pennsylvania Law. Any individual who transports, land applies, or brokers manure in a commercial situation within the borders of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania must successfully complete a state certification program.
Commercial Manure Hauler – A person that transports or land applies manure as a contract agent for an agricultural operator or commercial manure broker under the direction of the operator or broker.
Commercial Manure Broker – A person that is not working for or under the control of an agricultural operator and that assumes temporary control or ownership of manure from an agricultural operation and arranges for transport to and utilization at an importing operation or other location. More information about the program can be found at https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Plants_Land_Water/StateConservationCommission/CommercialManuer/Pages/default.aspx
The Conservation District hosts Level 2 Manure Hauling Exams on an as needed basis, and at least 1 Manure Hauling Continuing Education Credit (CEC) session annually. There is no cost to attend, but you must register so that sufficient materials are provided. Please call the Conservation District to schedule an exam and for the dates and times of the CEC session
For additional information on nutrient management, visit the following websites:
Financial and Technical Assistance
The Cumberland County Conservation District and NRCS administers a variety of cost-share programs to assist in the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMP's) to control nutrients and soil erosion on farms. To determine the best program for your project, please contact the Conservation District at 717.240.7812 or NRCS at 717.249.1037.
The Conservation District and NRCS continue to offer technical assistance to Cumberland County farmers free of charge, even if they do not participate in our cost share programs.