Nutrient Management Plan Coalition Effort
CDFA understands the importance of nutrient management plans or nitrogen budget worksheets (NMP). At present, the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition is working to incorporate NMPs into its agricultural order with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board (CVRWQCB) Irrigated Lands Program. CDFA supports this approach and is involved with discussions between the coalition and CVRWQCB as well as providing the coalition with technical assistance in the development of the NMP template to be used by coalition members.
An important aspect of NMP is that it takes into account the nitrogen content of irrigation water prior to crop use so that any nitrogen fertilizer applied to the land can be reduced to prevent over fertilization.
In many agricultural areas of the state, groundwater is used for irrigation water. This technique has been termed "pump and fertilize" and is one of the most cost effective promising options for long-term nitrogen solutions to impaired groundwater. See an example of a NMP.
Growers will need on-the-ground technical expertise to advise them on NMP and best management practices. CDFA has identified that there is a lack of on-the-ground expertise to help growers with nutrient management plans. It has identified the California Certified Crop Advisor program, consisting of over 500 trained agronomy experts, to assist growers. CDFA is also creating a new FREP Database to provide CCAs and other crop advisors with best management practice tools. Learn more about these CDFA initiatives below.