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Comprehensive Nutrient Management Planning (CNMP)

Judicious management of soil, nutrients, and water is critical in order to minimize environmental impacts from agricultural operations. Major emphasis is therefore being placed on accounting for all the nutrients imported to and exported from the farms. Nutrient budgeting will help identify nutrient losses to the environment and thereby, provide an opportunity for creating a nutrient management 'Plan' that will effectively minimize or eliminate the potential risk(s) to environmental quality.

Such a task requires a holistic approach to, and sound comprehension of, all phases of the farming operation. The USDA-NRCS Code 590 regulations stipulate that CNMPs be developed and approved for all CAFOs in each state within a stipulated time frame. Each state has the option of creating its own modifications or additions to the basic criteria for the CNMPs based on the specific needs. To augment the personnel resources required to accomplish such a daunting task in a timely manner, individuals in the private sector (Technical Service Providers - TSPs) have to be trained and certified. Therefore, a need for creating a formal training program where educational information is disseminated to the TSPs arose. The training program has been created with active collaboration between the interdisciplinary IFAS faculty and the USDA-NRCS officials.