DOVER, Del. — Along with the Delaware Nutrient Management Program’s annual report mailing, Delaware farmers are being encouraged to complete an additional 16-question implementation questionnaire. The questionnaire aims to measure nutrient applications and environmental deeds, allowing Delaware to recognize farmers’ stewardship efforts in 2020.
“Delaware is committed to protecting and improving the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries and is working to meet the Chesapeake Bay Program’s restoration goals. We know that Delaware farmers have been implementing best management practices for over 30 years, and it’s working,” said Chris Brosch, Nutrient Management Program Administrator. “In interviewing farmers, we realized that we were missing a lot of the stewardship practices that they use on their farm each year because there is not a place to enter it on the annual report. This new questionnaire will allow us to record this information so the deeds can be counted towards Delaware Agriculture’s Chesapeake Bay nutrient reduction goals.”
The Program has developed a short, online video tutorial to educate participants about the questionnaire, what it means for their operation and Delaware, and how to accurately fill out the questionnaire (http://ow.ly/ZESN50Csx19). Staff is also available to answer questions if a farmer needs assistance while completing the questions.
Annual reports and environmental deeds questionnaires should be submitted in the same envelope provided and mailed to the Delaware Department of Agriculture. Information from these reports will be held to the same privacy standards as a farmer’s annual reports.
The Program is offering farmers up to 2.0 credits of continuing education towards the Nutrient Management Certification, including a half-credit for watching the instructional video and 1.5 credits for returning the completed annual report and questionnaire.
Delaware farmers are required to follow nutrient management plans when fertilizing crops and managing animal manure. These plans define how much manure, fertilizer, or other nutrient sources can be safely applied to crops to achieve yields and prevent nutrient run-off. All the additional environmental deeds that a farmer utilizes to protect the Chesapeake Bay can be counted towards Delaware’s nutrient reduction goals if it is recorded on the questionnaire.
The Chesapeake Bay TMDL document called for an assessment in 2017 to review progress toward meeting the nutrient and sediment pollutant load reductions necessary for Bay restoration. This midpoint assessment measured the Bay jurisdictions’ progress toward meeting the 2017 goal of having practices in place to achieve 60 percent of the necessary reductions compared to 2009 levels. The Phase III WIP will provide information on what actions the jurisdictions intend to implement between 2018 and 2025 to continue to meet the Bay TMDL restoration goals. See the Phase III Planning Expectations and Planning page for EPA’s mid-point assessment schedule to meet the new requirements.
For additional information, contact the Delaware Nutrient Management Program at (302) 698-4558.
–Delaware Department of Agriculture