Eight NEK farmers write nutrient management plans

in News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Over six weeks this winter, eight NEK dairy producers who enrolled in the UVM Extension course, “Digging In – A Nutrient Management Course for Farmers,” wrote their own nutrient management plans (NMPs).

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Farmers in the class, held at Sterling College in Craftsbury, received technical assistance from the Orleans, Caledonia, Essex, and Winooski Conservation Districts through a USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) grant.

Through the RCPP program, farmers are offered technical assistance in preparing a Land Treatment Plan (the foundation of an NMP), taking soil and manure samples, and one-on-one help throughout the UVM course.

A nutrient management plan is a working document that combines scientific data with the farmer’s knowledge of their land to create a plan that determines crop needs and allocates nutrient spreading by field.

The goals of a nutrient management plan are to improve soil health, maximize yields, improve efficiency, and minimize the impact on natural resources.

The UVM Extension course includes lectures on soil science, crop yields, water quality and meeting the RAPs.

The course also incorporates time for farmers to write their own NMP using the UVM-developed online goCrop™ software.

Because a nutrient management plan is a working, living document, it should be updated yearly.

To this end, the Orleans County Conservation District, in collaboration with UVM Extension, will be holding a free, one-day goGraze™ training and update class open to all NEK producers with a UVM goCrop™ account.

This class will take place on Wednesday, March 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Eastside Restaurant in Newport.

Lunch will be provided, and the class will introduce participants to a relatively new addition to the goCrop™ software, goGraze™.

The new software allows producers to create a grazing plan and keep detailed records throughout the grazing season.

The format for the class will be instruction in the morning, lunch, and time in the afternoon for participants to work on updating their nutrient management plans or apply the skills they learned in the morning.

Pre-registration is required. Contact Emily Irwin to sign up or with questions at 802-334-6090 ext. 7008 or emily.irwin@vt.nacdnet.net.

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