Submitted to: Eastern Canada Nutrient Management Workshop Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/20/2000
Publication Date: 1/20/2001
Citation: SIMS, J.T., SHARPLEY, A.N. NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: CHALLENGES AND CHANGES IN THE U.S.. EASTERN CANADA NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP PROCEEDINGS. 2001. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Nutrient management has always been a key component of agricultural planning. Decades of research have developed and refined efficient, economic means to optimize plant nutrition and thus increase crop yields. Government advisory agencies (e.g. Cooperative Extension, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service) and private agricultural consultants have been able to transfer much of the nutrient management research into best management practices (BMPs) that are well-accepted by farmers today. Unfortunately, despite the long-term efforts in research and technology transfer to improve the efficiency of nutrient management, federal and state analyses of ground and surface water pollution consistently identify agriculture as a major nonpoint source of nutrients. These reports, in combination with a series of local or regional events, such as fish kills, nuisance algal blooms, accidental discharges of manures from lagoons into streams and rivers, and high nitrate concentrations in aquifers and rivers used as drinking waters, have heightened public awareness about agriculture's role in nonpoint source pollution. Questions are now arising about the effectiveness of voluntary BMPs in protecting the environment. We summarize in this paper some recent changes in the U.S. with regard to nutrient management and the challenges agriculture faces in implementing these changes.