The Virginia Nutrient Management Leadership Team (VNMLT) is a collaborative effort comprised of 18 agricultural and conservation organizations and state agencies working to strengthen nutrient management planning efforts on farms throughout Virginia.

The VNMLT is asking ag industry professionals and farmers to provide feedback about nutrient management plans (NMPs) through this short assessment and through one-on-one conversations with team members. This version of the assessment is designed for ag industry professionals. Completion of the assessment should take about 10 minutes.

Results from this assessment will be used by the VNMLT to recommend strategies designed to encourage more farmers to develop and implement nutrient management plans (NMPs). Your feedback is critical to informing these recommendations.

Virginia's Nutrient Management Program is a voluntary program that supports development of NMPs by a certified nutrient management planner. An NMP recommends how nutrients should be managed on farm fields to support crop yield goals and protect groundwater and surface water from excessive nutrient enrichment.

Assessment responses are confidential and will inform the development of VNMLT recommendations. Results will be shared in Spring 2017 in a public report that will be available online at

Members of the Virginia Nutrient Management Leadership Team include:
Chesapeake Bay Foundation - Matt Kowalski
Headwaters LLC - Kristen Saacke-Blunk
James River Association - Adrienne Kotula
James Riverkeeper - Pat Calvert
Sustainable Chesapeake - Kristen Hughes Evans and Dale Gardner
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service - Chris Lawrence
Virginia Agribusiness Council - Katie Frazier
Virginia Association of Conservation Districts - Kendall Tyree
Virginia Biosolids Council - Robert Crockett
Virginia Cattlemen’s Association - Jason Carter
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Darrell Marshall
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation - Darryl Glover and David Kindig
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality - Neil Zahradka
Virginia Farm Bureau - Wilmer Stoneman III
Virginia Grain Producers Association - Katie Hellebush and Ben Rowe
Virginia Poultry Federation - Hobey Bauhan
Virginia State Dairymen’s Association - Eric Paulson
Virginia Tech - Dr. Rory Maguire
Virginia Conservation Network, former Executive Director - Jacob Powell
Assessment Support: UVA Institute for Environmental Negotiation - Tanya Denckla Cobb, Judie Talbot and Dorothy Baker.
            Funding for the VNMLT is provided by the Virginia Environmental Endowment.
Thank you for your time!

If you have any questions about this survey, please contact: Kristen Hughes Evans at (415) 730-7503 (cell) or

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* 1. Which category best describes your profession? Please check all that apply.

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* 2. Approximately how many Virginia farmers do you work with each year, regarding nutrient management planning decisions?

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* 3. In your opinion, what are the primary benefits that encourage farmers to adopt nutrient management plans realize (NMPs)?

  Very valuable Somewhat valuable Not valuable No opinion or not sure
Saves money on fertilizer
Promotes good yields
Provides agronomic benefits (efficient use of nutrients)
Supports regulatory requirements
Provides environmental benefits (improves water quality, soil health)

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* 4. Based on your experience, what factors influence farmers who choose not to have or implement an NMP developed by a certified planner?

Alternately, for farmers who have NMPs, what challenges do they experience in developing and implementing their plans?

  Very important Somewhat important Not important No opinion or not sure
The process seems too time consuming
Lack of familiarity with the nutrient management planning program
Expense to develop a plan
Concerns about the cost to implement the plan
Not aware of cost-share funding
Certified nutrient management plans seem too technical
Concerns that nutrient management planning is overly complicated
Concerns that certified nutrient management plans are inflexible
Cost-share funding not available
Nutrient management practices are already in place (such as calibrating fertilizer application based on soil test recommendations), so don't see the value in having a nutrient management plan
Recommendations on fertilizer are already obtained from a source other than a certified nutrient management planner
Unsure of impact of high soil phosphorus levels on ability to apply manure or organic amendments
Concern that having a plan may eventually result in regulatory requirements
Lack of interest
Developing a nutrient management plan is not recommended by trusted sources

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* 5. How important is a nutrient management planner in helping farmers IMPLEMENT their plan?

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* 6. What services provided by the nutrient management planner are more (or less) helpful to farmers?

  Very helpful Somewhat helpful Not helpful No opinion or not sure
Expertise in agronomy and crop production
Follow-up visits and phone, text or email communication that support plan implementation
Assistance in collecting in-field data (e.g., soil and plant tissue tests)
Information on how nutrient management plans can help save money
Support for record keeping
Actively involved in keeping the plan updated
Clear explanations on how to implement the plan

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* 7. What would encourage more farmers to work with a certified management planner to develop and implement an NMP? Or, what would make it easier for farmers to develop and implement NMPs?

  Very helpful Somewhat helpful Not helpful No opinion or not sure
Increasing the number of certified nutrient management planners to support plan WRITING
Increasing the number of certified nutrient management planners/agronomists to support plan IMPLEMENTATION
Providing more cost-share funding for plan WRITING
Providing more cost-share funding for plan IMPLEMENTATION
Providing resources that demonstrate how nutrient management plans can help grow better crops
Providing resources that demonstrate the financial impacts of nutrient management planning
Simplifying plan documents so that recommendations are easier to understand
Better use of technology (software, apps, etc.) to support plan implementation
Make it easier and quicker to change and update the plan

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* 8. Optional: Do you have ideas that you would be willing to share with Virginia Nutrient Management Team members? If so please leave your name and contact information. If you have a preference on who you would like to speak with, please indicate that as well. Discussions with VNMLT members will be confidential.