Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Keep Your Paperwork in Order

I have never met a farmer yet who enjoys paperwork, but it is a necessary part of the job, especially if you are captured by the nutrient management regulations in the province of Ontario.  This is a picture of one my nutrient management clients, Jeff Reijnen's dairy barn.  In Perth County this year, the Ministry of Environment's Ag Enforcement Officer, Glenn Ross, has been running a pilot project.  He has been contacting and visiting all farm operators in the county with expiring Nutrient Management Strategies.  Our Nutrient Management regulations have a 5 year life cycle.  At the end of each 5 year period the farm operation is required to renew their Nutrient Management Strategy with OMAF and if they are over 300 nutrient units they are also required to have an updated Nutrient Management Field Plan that covers their cropping plans for the next 5 years.  This cropping plan must be kept on file at the farm.  Glenn has been focusing on farms that filed Nutrient Management Plans with OMAF in 2005.  These operations are now required to renew in 2010, unless they have filed subsequent strategies since 2005.
The purpose of Glenn's project is to find out the degree of compliance with the regulations in Perth County.  Fortunately, he has found compliance levels are relatively high and his friendly personna has kept relations good between the Ministry of Environment, the farm operators and consultants like myself.
Clients in other counties have also noticed more activity by MOE staff.  
The take home message is keep your strategies up to date and be mindful of the date of expiry of current strategies.  I expect the enforcement to continue.

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