Skip Navigation

Cooperative Effort Protects KY Waters from Nutrient Pollution

Tibor Horvath, Nutrient Management Specialist


Article by: Tibor Horvath, Nutrient Management Specialist with NRCS


The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) along with the Kentucky Division of Conservation and the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service is helping livestock producers to develop and implement a nutrient management plan that can greatly reduce the nutrient runoff and leaching to surface and ground water.

What is the Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Act?

The Kentucky General Assembly passed the Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Act in 1994 (KRS. 224.71-100 through 224.71-140). The goal of the act is to protect surface and groundwater resources from pollution as a result of agriculture and silviculture (forestry) activities.

Whom does the Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Act affect?

The Agriculture Water Quality Act requires all landowners with 10 or more acres that are being used for agriculture or silviculture operations to develop and implement a water quality plan based upon guidance from the Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Plan. It is the sole responsibility of each landowner to develop, implement and revise when needed, a water quality plan for their individual operations.

To develop your Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Plan online go to:

The Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Plan will assess the existing resource concerns on the operation and will recommend conservation practices to remedy all potential water quality risks.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations also required obtaining a no discharge operation permit from the Division of Water through the Kentucky Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (KPDES):

Spreading manureKentucky NRCS is offering financial assistance to producers for the development of their nutrient management plan or comprehensive nutrient management plan (for livestock operation with facilities) that would be developed by private technical service providers (TSPs). If the nutrient management plan is completed, the producers can seek financial assistance for the implementation of the plan through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program of NRCS.

Please visit your local NRCS field office for further information and for any technical or financial assistance related to water or soil quality to improve our environment and to enhance your farming operation:

Manure in field.Any livestock operation in Kentucky that is not housing the animals indoor facing serious challenges during the winter and early spring months when there is no vegetation growing and the nutrients from the animal manure can travel offsite and enter Kentucky’s surface waters. 

Nitrate leaching to the ground water is also a great concern that can present a serious threat to our public water supply. A comprehensive nutrient management plan would address all water quality concerns and would recommend the construction of a manure storage facility to safely store animal waste during months when crops are not growing. The manure will be applied to crop fields during the growing season in a rate to match the crops nutrient need.