Ag Order 4.0
The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board is close to finalizing the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program known as Ag Order 4.0.
Smith… “What they've done in that ag order is they've put limits on the amount of nitrogen that can be applied.”
That’s Richard Smith, farm advisor in Monterey County.
Smith… “But there's going to be limits and they're going to ratchet down over a period of time. And it's all based on how much is applied and how much is removed. That gets to be tricky because you have to put enough on to grow the crop, but then you only remove a small portion of it. So then it puts the growers in a bind for how to meet these regulations.”
Smith says cover crops can make sure that nitrogen stays in that plant biomass over the winter, so it is available the following spring.
Smith… “And so if you can get a credit of a 100 or 150 pounds of nitrogen removed with a cover crop, then what you've done is you've started to incentivize the use of cover crops. And then growers, what they may end up doing is finding that there's times when they can use a cover crop and they would be incentivized to do that more so than they are now.”
For more information on Ag Order 4.0 visit the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board website.