Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

March 2, 2013

Garrett Coggon: Focus on official requirements

Winter is often a time for growers to step back and reevaluate their operations, assessing the past year and planning for the next growing season. It can also be a good chance to catch up on paperwork and ensure your operation is meeting applicable state and federal requirements.

While reviewing compliance isn’t at the top of anyone’s to-do list, Michigan growers have several unique tools to assist them in the process. Our local growers are generally very good stewards of the land; listed below are a few details that will assist growers in staying up to date on the changing requirements and ensure farm operations run smoothly.

Water Use Reporting: All those who have the capacity to pump a total of 70 gpm from all wells on one piece of property are required to report their annual water use to the state. The deadline for agriculture is April 1, and this needs to be done online by visiting www.deq.state.mi.us/wur and clicking on the MDARD logo.

Growers considering installing a new large-capacity withdrawal (pump capacity greater than 70 gpm) also need to obtain clearance by utilizing the MI Water Withdrawal Tool, www.miwwat.org. These programs work in concert to ensure that withdrawals do not cause an adverse resource impact on nearby groundwater or surface water supplies. In Michigan, we have abundant water supplies; however, this tasks us with the responsibility to use these resources wisely and protect them from degradation.

Nutrient Management: Now is also a good time to review soil samples and leaf tissue analysis in order to hone your nutrient management plan for 2013. Efficient use of N fertilizer is important economically, agronomically and environmentally. Paying attention to your site-specific N recommendations, MSU crop guidelines, compatible sources of N and good N management practices will lead to greater efficiency.

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