On Aug. 2, 2013, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) released a draft revision of Minnesota’s Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan (NFMP) for public comment. 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 Plan includes components promoting prevention and developing appropriate responses to the detection of nitrogen fertilizer in groundwater. The strategies in the NFMP are based on voluntary BMPs. The Nitrogen Fertilizer BMPs were developed in 1990 and updated in 2007-08. They are available as University of Minnesota Extension publications.

Supporting information includes MDA nitrate monitoring reports and a presentation to the legislature on nitrates and groundwater (PDF: 2.66 MB / 24 pages).

A draft of the 2013 Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan is available for public review. MDA is requesting comments on the 2013 plan. Comments will be accepted through November 1, 2013.

To assist the public in understanding these issues and the NFMP, MDA will be hosting a series of public listening sessions across the state during the month of September. The meetings are free and open to the public.