Delmarva Farmers Feeling Over-regulated - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delmarva Farmers Feeling Over-regulated

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Vienna, Md.- Farmers throughout Maryland are feeling over-regulated with the approaching proposed phosphorous management tool.

The tool is designed to lower the amount of phosphorous in the ground on Maryland's farms.  The goal is to prevent runoff into Maryland's rivers and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. 

Julie Oberg with the Maryland Department of Agriculture says the new tool is necessary.

"It allows users to evaluate management options that can reduce the risk of phosphorus losses from agricultural fields to nearby waterways. Revising and updating the tool is an element of Maryland's Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP), the federally mandated document that outlines specific steps the state will take to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay" she wrote in an email to WBOC. 

Farmers are less than enthusiastic though.  Greg Gannon of C.H. Gannon and Sons in Easton says the fertilizer regulations are being changed too quickly.

"We're faced with not only the regulation, but the changing regulations." Said Gannon, "It's very difficult to keep up anymore with what the latest and greatest is.  If we could settle in one place we would probably find it easier to adhere to them all."

William Layton, the President of the Dorchester County Farm Bureau believes that the agriculture industry is being forced to make up the deficit from programs that are behind in their goals to clean up the bay. 

"The EPA put in to effect this plan to clean up the bay." Said Layton, "Farmers right now are ahead of their goals by 130 percent.  We are ahead of where we need to be right now.  We're not behind.  We don't need to catch up.  If we keep moving along like we are, we are in really good shape."

The new PMT is currently in emergency status in order to allow it to pass quickly and go into effect by the time the fall planting season has arrived.  The Maryland Farm Bureau says the new regulation would limit or completely remove the ability to use chicken manure as a fertilizer.  Layton says the change is too quick, as many farms will have to buy expensive new equipment to handle new types of fertilizer.

"It's just different equipment used for spreading it.  Manure is cakey, it's lumpy, dry fertilizer is like a salt, and liquid fertilizer you have to spray, and you're gonna have to use different kinds of equipment to spread each of those." Said Layton.

For the Maryland Department of Agriculture's press release about the new PMT you can click here.

There will be a hearing held to discuss the new regulation in Annapolis on Wednesday August 28th at 3:00 pm by the AELR Committee to discuss whether it should go into effect, and if so, whether it should under the emergency status.

 

 

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