Nutrient Management Planning
A Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) determines where, when and how much compost or manure can be spread on a farm with minimal risk of phosphorus and pathogens entering a water supply. Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC) Planners work with program participants to create a plan based on the specific nutrient needs, landscape and infrastructure of each farm. NMPs are based on the USDA NRCS Conservation Practices and the New York Phosphorus Index.
NMPs begin with soil sampling and compost analysis which are collected by East of Hudson (EOH) staff every three years and provide the basis for a farm’s NMP.
The plan summarizes the nutrient balances for each farm field, and provide recommendations on soil amendments and fertilizer inputs. In addition to soil sampling results and compost analysis, a NMP also includes farm maps which outline land use, soil data, field fertility, slope, flow paths, and manure spreading load and timing allowances.
This year EOH implemented NMPs on seven farms, Pine View, Stony Creek, Muscoot, Acadia, Big Elm, Hemlock Hill and Snow Hill Farm. The NMP prepared by the WAC at Muscoot is a component of the NYS Climate Resilient Farming Grant received by the farm to improve the farm’s resiliency and mitigate greenhouse gases. Hemlock Hill’s NMP is a component of the farm’s NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program project that will be addressing nutrient concerns at the farm. The NMP at Snow Hill assisted the farm with completing its National Organic Farmers Association-NY Organic Certification.
EOH NMPs are helping farms protect drinking water by preventing the loss of nutrients to surface and groundwater, build soil fertility, increase soil organic matter and carbon and improving the utilization of nutrients and production efficiency on farms.
East of Hudson Technical Assistance Program
In response to an increase in the severity and frequency of storms experienced in the NYC Watershed, a number of EOH participants have expressed an interest in improving their farm infrastructure. The EOH Program has been working with these participants to provide technical assistance for farm-implemented projects designed to enhance farm resiliency, improve production and protect water quality. The EOH Engineering Team has developed a site plan and designs for two new wells at Snow Hill Farm. The new water supply will be used for the farm’s organic vegetable production and will alleviate pressure on the single well currently being used for the entire property. EOH has also worked with Faraway Farm to design and assist with implementation of new waterers for the alpacas. The farm selected non-electric geothermal waterers which do not require electricity to prevent freezing in winter and will keep water cooler in the summer. With the WAC providing technical assistance, EOH farms are able to improve their farm operations and increase their resiliency.
East Of Hudson Program Stats: 80 Whole Farm Plans •• 7,305 Acres •• 803 BMPs Completed to Date •• 1,775 Acres under Nutrient Management Planning
Read more from the 2021 Annual Report here.