This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
February 22, 2019
We are proposing changes to the General Regulation under the Nutrient Management Act to reduce administrative burden and provide more business opportunities for agricultural producers while protecting the environment and public interest.
Nutrient Management Act and General Regulation
In Ontario, the Nutrient Management Act (NMA) provides for the management of nutrients in ways that provide for the protection of the natural environment and also provide a sustainable future for agricultural operations and rural development.
The General Regulation regulates the management of a variety of prescribed materials (e.g. on-farm and off-farm materials). The Regulation prescribes rules for the management of prescribed materials on an agricultural operation, including their storage and application. The Regulation requires certain agricultural operations to have a nutrient management strategy (NMS), nutrient management plan (NMP) or a non-agricultural source material (NASM) plan completed by a certified preparer. These documents are intended to outline the management processes and expectations to be taken by the operation to comply with the various regulatory rules through a systematic assessment process.
The NMA is jointly administered by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP). OMAFRA approves strategies and plans and MECP ensures compliance.
Removing the Automatic Cessation of a Nutrient Management Strategy (NMS) After Five Years
Once a NMS is approved and in force at an agricultural operation, there are a number of different situations that would result in its cessation (i.e. its expiry) requiring a renewal. One of these situations is the fifth anniversary of the day on which the NMS was either approved or last prepared.
We are proposing to remove the automatic cessation of a nutrient management strategy after five years. Producers would no longer be required to complete a new nutrient management strategy every five years, reducing administrative burden. The proposed regulation would not affect when an agricultural operation needed a NMS and the NMS would still need to be prepared by a certified person. The other cessation situations would remain unchanged in the Regulation, and a farmer would require a new NMS when there is: 1) a new or expanded livestock housing or manure storage; 2) some changes to an anaerobic digester; or 3) if there is a change in ownership (under certain circumstances only).
Including Low Risk Manures from Non-Farm Grazing Animals as Category 1 Non-Agricultural Source Material (NASM
The Regulation includes three categories of NASM: Category 1, Category 2, and Category 3. Each category has different regulatory requirements. Manures from non-farm grazing animals, such as zebra, elephant or kangaroo, are currently categorized as Category 3 NASM which has the most stringent rules associated with its management. These include sampling and analysis requirements and a requirement to have a certified person prepare a NASM plan and submit it to the Director for approval.
We are proposing to re-categorize low-risk manures from non-farm grazing animals as a Category 1 NASM. This proposed amendment would apply to businesses and agricultural operations looking to utilize these manures as a crop nutrient source and could help promote improved recycling of these materials. Under the proposed amendment, a NASM Plan and OMAFRA approval would no longer be required for application of these materials since they would be designated as a Category 1 NASM rather than a Category 3 NASM. These manures would still be subject to the Category 1 NASM land application rules.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact
It is anticipated that there would be no net increase in burden to businesses.
The proposed changes will benefit agricultural operations by reducing administrative burden and reducing compliance costs. Minimal administrative costs could include the time required by agricultural operators to read and understand the regulatory changes, should they be approved.
Removing the automatic cessation of a nutrient management strategy after five years will reduce administrative burden by removing the requirement to prepare a new nutrient management strategy every five years, even if there were no changes to the operation.
Including low-risk manures from non-farm grazing animals as Category 1 Non-Agricultural Source Material (NASM) will eliminate sampling and analysis requirements and eliminate the need to prepare a NASM Plan.
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