Nutrient Management Plans

“Recently, the Maryland Farm Bureau sued the Maryland Department of Agriculture to stop the release of nutrient management plans to the Waterkeeper Alliance (see for details). A few years ago, I obtained a copy of Centreville’s nutrient management plan that was submitted as part of their renewal application for a wastewater discharge permit onto their spray farm.

Attached is a copy of that plan. In it, you will see that the first thing that needs to be disclosed is what crops the farmer will be planting on the coming year. From soil testing and given a desired yield, the amount of fertilizer is determined.

Although there is not much of a surprise of crop selection in this case (wheat followed by soy beans in one season followed by corn the next season) I could see how this information could be considered proprietary. It would be like GM revealing to everyone how many small cars vs. pickup trucks they plan on producing in the coming year.

I must withhold judgment on the calculations, since I admittedly know very little about farming.”