Strategic Initiatives to Achieve Regional Phosphorus Balance
Sustainable Chesapeake and project partners deployed a comprehensive suite of strategic initiatives to achieve farm and regional nutrient balance for high-density animal production areas within the Chesapeake Bay watershed:
We identified opportunities to expand markets for untreated manure and manure co-products produced via thermal manure-to-energy technologies. Our project partners, Dr. Mark Reiter and Clara Ervin with Virginia Tech helped Mr. Earl Ray Zimmerman turn his ash into fertilizer pellets, and Dr. Clint Neil evaluated the economic feasibility of this approach and found opportunities for farms to generate profit by selling fertilizer pellets for home garden use.
The PAOneStop, an online planning tool developed by Penn State University to support on farm conservation planning was expanded to assist farmers and conservation planners in developing nutrient balance, manure management, and erosion and sediment control management plans.
We facilitated regional, multi-stakeholder initiatives focused on achieving farm-scale and regional nutrient balance. Funding from the project hosted a tour of innovative poultry litter management technologies on Delmarva.
We also used funding from the project to facilitate the Virginia Nutrient Management Leadership Team (VNMLT). convened in June of 2016 for the purpose of strengthening NMP efforts on farms throughout Virginia. The VNMLT is a collaborative effort comprised of agricultural and conservation organizations, and state and federal agencies, with the following specific objectives:
1. Gather feedback from farmers and industry professionals to identify challenges to and opportunities to expand participation.
2. Develop recommendations to improve farmer participation.
3. Highlight nutrient management success stories.
4. Communicate results and support efforts to implement recommendations.
And finally, we leveraged these partnerships and NFWF investments to secure $10.7 million in technical and financial assistance for nutrient management plan implementation on both animal and row crop farms through the USDA's Regional Conservation Partnership Program.