Producers in the Tar-Pamlico River Basin of North Carolina have until Sept. 1 to register with local advisory committees.

Under nutrient management rules, producers must register in the county where they farm, says Steve Coffey, environmental specialist with the North Carolina Division of Soil and Water Conservation. Agriculture, as a whole in the basin, must reduce nitrogen losses 30 percent by Sept. 1, 2006.

“The main point is that each county will be required to reduce nitrogen loading by 30 percent compared to the 1991 baseline,” Coffey says. “Producer registration is the first requirement toward meeting that goal.”

“In some counties, farmers may have received registration forms in the mail,” Coffey says. “They may also see registration information displayed at businesses or at government offices.”

Producers can register with their local advisory committee through their county Extension office or county Soil and Water Conservation District. “Registration helps the local advisory committee plan strategy to meet the nutrient management rules.”

For the grower, registration does three things: The producer will be informed about the rules, they'll learn about technical assistance available to help them comply with the rules, and they'll also learn about cost-share options.

Counties will complete a baseline survey, and develop local strategies to meet the goals this fall. All information stays with the county advisory committee.

The BMPs would likely include, cover crops, conservation-tillage for corn in the Piedmont, filter strips, nutrient management plans, water control structures and riparian buffers, as well as pastures.

Phosphorus BMPs may be established as the result of the work of a Technical Advisory Committee, according to the rules. Upon establishment, growers would have four years to complete phosphorus BMPs that result in no net increase of phosphorus loading based on 1991 levels.

Nutrient-reducing BMPs installed since 1991 will be counted in calculating the nutrient reduction, as well as in determining what additional steps are needed to get producers into compliance with the new rules.

The Tar-Pamlico River Basin runs from Person County in the central Piedmont of North Carolina to Hyde County in the eastern part of the state.