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Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) - Information for Producers

Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) - Information for Producers

Making manure make money—while protecting water and air—takes forethought.  NRCS and partners work with dairy producers to develop comprehensive plans that balance nutrient outputs from livestock (manure) with nutrient inputs needed by crops. Plans can detail the hardware and management needed to store and apply those nutrients too.

Preparing a CNMP can be a simple or complex process, depending on the size and complexity of the animal operation. It typically requires knowledge in engineering, agronomy and crop nutrient management, erosion control practices, irrigation systems, and water management in order to adequately assess and manage water and manure associated with animal feeding operations, and control runoff. Producers may find it necessary to enlist the help of one or more technical experts when preparing a CNMP. A certification program has been established for persons offering to prepare CNMPs to assure certain standards are met.

Not all CNMPs will require the same level of expertise. In some cases, particularly for AFOs that have no plans to add new facilities or expand existing ones, it is possible the CNMP may be prepared by the producer and reviewed by a certified specialist. Producers will need to obtain a minimum level of training to prepare their own CNMPs, possibly through the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP) environmental stewardship program. 

Funding and technical assistance may be available to help with preparing and implementing the CNMP. Free technical assistance to prepare the CNMP is available directly from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); however, the timing and scheduling of the assistance may not always meet the producers’ need. NRCS also provides cost share assistance on a competitive basis to producers to prepare CNMPs. When cost share assistance is provided, producers may choose a Technical Service Provider (TSP) from the NRCS TechReg website or other certified CNMP specialist(s) to prepare the CNMP.

Funding may also be available from NRCS through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), to assist in implementing the actions in the CNMP, including installing waste storage ponds and other manure handling facilities, installing erosion control practices, and making changes in the management of manure and other nutrients. Contact your local NRCS office for information unique to your county.

The links below contain information about what must be done to obtain cost-share for manure management through EQIP. These guidelines typically cover manure application to cropland in the Central Valley. To be eligible for payments, all engineered improvements needed for manure management at the dairy must be installed.

Producers may also want to review the documents on this site designed for Technical Service Providers (TSP) and NRCS employees assisting with CNMP preparation.

The current regulations adopted by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board - Region 5, Central Valley Region, for milk cow dairies appears on this link.