MDA will not delay state PMT schedule
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland Department of Agriculture will not delay the implementation schedule of the Phosphorus Management Tool into farmers’ nutrient management plan, department Secretary Joe Bartenfelder said.
In a letter sent on Dec. 23 to members of the PMT Transition Advisory Committee, Bartenfelder said, based on the “overwhelming outcome” of the committee’s vote not to recommend a delay, he would not authorize one at this time.
The committee on Dec. 13 voted 12-5 to not recommend delaying implementation to Bartenfelder. Among those in the majority were the Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc., Maryland Farm Bureau and the Maryland Grain Producers Association, which are represented on the committee.
While the groups said they have concerns about how the next phase of implementation will impact farmers, they said in a joint statement after the vote that requesting a delay was not the best decision for its membership.
“We have known the PMT was coming for several years now but the infrastructure to handle the storage, transport and application of manure and replacement with synthetic fertilizer have not ramped up because there has not been the demand. Unless the next phase of the PMT is implemented, we will not know what our members need to move forward,” the groups said.
Bartenfelder said MDA will continue to work at identifying opportunities with allied industries and stakeholder groups to provide adequate resources to help farmers implement the PMT on their farm operations, including adjusting the Manure Transport Program to be more efficient and identify alternative sites and uses for poultry litter and animal manure.
“The department will ensure that farmers and growers, especially those on the Lower Eastern Shore, receive the funding and support they need to assist them during the transition,” Bartenfelder said in his letter.
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