The Ministry of Environment is aiming to ensure watercourses and groundwater are protected through the proper storage and use of manure and other nutrient sources, like fertilizer.
But it’s not just big agricultural operations that are affected by the new regulations, called the Code of Practice for Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM Code).
The Ministry’s Margaret Crowley said the regulation covers small hobby farms right up to big commercial operations.
Many small farm operators, she said, will have to begin the process by getting a soil test for fields that have nutrients applied and, depending on the results of that, may have to come up with a nutrient management plan.
“They, unlikely, would need a nutrient management plan but there are things that they will still need to be aware of and understand. We are looking for basic level protection as ‘everybody needs to do these things’, prevent that leachate runoff and then, if you are in a high risk area now there’s other things that you might need to be aware of and deal with.”
The new regulation, which comes into effect at the end of this month, requires everyone to follow a basic level of protection. Some of the requirements such as nutrient management plans, will be phased-in depending upon the risk in the area you live in and for those with 2 hectares or more, if you apply nutrients to land, you will be required to get soil testing done starting this year.
Coastal communities, by virtue of larger amounts of rainfall, are considered high-risk areas.
Several of the new provisions were informed by the independent Hullcar report, released in November 2017, which called for improvements to agricultural waste management in the province.