history | hilite | pdf
12100613D
HOUSE BILL NO. 932
Offered January 11, 2012
Prefiled January 11, 2012
A BILL to amend and reenact  10.1-104.2 and 10.1-2128.1 of the Code of Virginia, relating to the Voluntary Nutrient Management Plan Program.
----------
Patrons-- Lingamfelter, Kory and Webert
----------
Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources
----------

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1.  That 10.1-104.2 and 10.1-2128.1 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted as follows:

10.1-104.2. Voluntary nutrient management training and certification program.

A. The Department shall operate a voluntary nutrient management training and certification program to certify the competence of persons preparing nutrient management plans for the purpose of (i) assisting landowners and operators in the management of land application of fertilizers, municipal sewage sludges, animal manures, and other nutrient sources for agronomic benefits and for the protection of the Commonwealth's ground and surface waters and (ii) assisting owners and operators of agricultural land and turf to achieve economic benefits from the effective management and application of nutrients.

B. The Department shall develop a flexible, tiered, voluntary nutrient management plan program Voluntary Nutrient Management Plan Program to assist owners and operators of agricultural land and turf in (i) preparing nutrient management plans for their own property that meet the nutrient management specifications developed by the Department and (ii) achieving economic benefits for owners as a result of effective nutrient management. The Department shall convene a stakeholder group composed of individuals representing agricultural and environmental organizations to assist in the development of this program Program. Individuals representing the agricultural stakeholders shall include both farmers who currently operate farms and agribusiness representatives who serve the farming community. Individuals representing environmental stakeholders shall include at least two members of the Virginia Delegation to the Chesapeake Bay Commission and one representative from the Rappahannock River Basin Commission. The program Program shall: (i) (a) allow owners and operators of agricultural lands and turf who are not required to have a certified nutrient management plan to prepare their own nutrient management plans; (ii) (b) include a tiered approach for lands of different sizes, agricultural production, and nutrient applications; (iii) (c) consider similar online programs in other states or sponsored by universities; (iv) (d) address how the nutrient management plans can be verified and receive credit in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model for properties in the Chesapeake Bay watershed; (v) establish an effective date for implementation (e) begin testing the software by July 1, 2013, and begin full implementation by January 1, 2014; and (vi) (f) include any other issues related to developing a flexible, tiered, voluntary nutrient management plan program planning software for owners and operators of agricultural lands and turf.

C. Any personal or proprietary information collected pursuant to this section shall be exempt from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act ( 2.2-3700 et seq.), except that the Director may release information that has been transformed into a statistical or aggregate form that does not allow identification of the persons who supplied, or are the subject of, particular information. This subsection shall not preclude the application of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act in all other instances of federal or state regulatory actions.

D. The Department shall, with the approval of the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board, adopt regulations:

1. Specifying qualifications and standards for individuals to be deemed competent in nutrient management plan preparation, and providing for the issuance of documentation of certification to such individuals;

2. Specifying conditions under which a certificate issued to an individual may be suspended or revoked;

3. Providing for criteria relating to the development of nutrient management plans for various agricultural and urban agronomic practices;

4. Establishing fees to be paid by individuals enrolling in the training and certification programs;

5. Providing for the performance of other duties and the exercise of other powers by the Director as may be necessary to provide for the training and certification of individuals preparing nutrient management plans; and

6. Giving due consideration to relevant existing agricultural certification programs.

DE. There is hereby established a special, nonreverting fund in the state treasury to be known as the Nutrient Management Training and Certification Fund. The fund shall consist of all fees collected by the Department pursuant to subsection C D and funds annually deposited from the Natural Resources Commitment Fund for nonpoint source pollution control pursuant to subdivision B 1 of 10.1-2128.1. No part of the fund, either principal or interest, shall revert to the general fund. The fund shall be administered by the Director, and shall be used solely for the payment of expenses of operating the nutrient management training and certification program and the development, promotion, and operation of the Voluntary Nutrient Management Plan Program, including the development and support for web-based planning software, development and distribution of training materials, promotion of the use of the software, and training in the use of the software.

F. For the purposes of this section, the term "turf" shall have the same meaning as defined in 3.2-3600.

10.1-2128.1. Virginia Natural Resources Commitment Fund established.

A. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Virginia Natural Resources Commitment Fund hereafter referred to as "the Subfund," which shall be a subfund of the Virginia Water Quality Improvement Fund and administered by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. The Subfund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All amounts appropriated and such other funds as may be made available to the Subfund from any other source, public or private, shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Subfund. Interest earned on moneys in the Subfund shall remain in the Subfund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Subfund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Subfund. Moneys in the Subfund shall be used as provided in subsection B solely for the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost-Share Program and the Voluntary Nutrient Management Plan Program authorized in 10.1-104.2 and administered by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

B. Beginning on July 1, 2008, and continuing in each subsequent fiscal year until July 1, 2018, out of such amounts as may be appropriated and deposited to the Subfund, distributions shall be made in each fiscal year for the following purposes:

1. Of the total amount deposited in the Subfund, up to 10 percent, but not more than $150,000 annually, shall be transferred to the Department of Conservation and Recreation's Nutrient Management Training and Certification Fund for the development and operation of the Voluntary Nutrient Management Plan Program pursuant to 10.1-104.2.

2. After transfers in accordance with subdivision 1, the remaining funds shall be annually allocated to the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost-Share Program and distributed as follows:

a. Eight percent of the total amount distributed to the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost-Share Program shall be distributed to soil and water conservation districts to provide technical assistance for the implementation of such agricultural best management practices. Each soil and water conservation district in the Commonwealth shall receive a share according to a method employed by the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation in consultation with the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board, that accounts for the percentage of the available agricultural best management practices funding that will be received by the district from the Subfund;

2b. Fifty-five percent of the total amount distributed to the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost-Share Program shall be used for matching grants for agricultural best management practices on lands in the Commonwealth exclusively or partly within the Chesapeake Bay watershed; and

3c. Thirty-seven percent of the total amount distributed to the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost-Share Program shall be used for matching grants for agricultural best management practices on lands in the Commonwealth exclusively outside of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

C. The Department of Conservation and Recreation, in consultation with stakeholders, including representatives of the agricultural community, the conservation community, and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, shall determine an annual funding amount for effective Soil and Water Conservation District technical assistance and implementation of agricultural best management practices pursuant to 10.1-546.1. Pursuant to 2.2-1504, the Department shall provide to the Governor the annual funding amount needed for each year of the ensuing biennial period. The Department shall include the annual funding amount as part of the reporting requirements in 62.1-44.118.


Legislative Information System