On June 14, 2019, the Ontario Government announced that it will amend the regulatory regime that governs farmers’ handling of manure and fertilizer. In Ontario, the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 (the “NMA”) regulates the management of manure generated from livestock as well as the application of manure and other fertilizer to fields in order to protect the environment and human health.
Under the O. Reg. 267/03 (General) of the NMA a farmer may be required to prepare and operate in accordance with one or more of three documents:
- a Nutrient Management Strategy (NMS), which reports the manure type and quantity generated by the farm, and details how the manure will be stored and managed.
- a Nutrient Management Plan (NMP), which controls how the manure is applied to the fields and crops.
- a Non-agricultural Source Material Plan (NASM), which controls how non-farm generated fertilizers such as sewage biosolids are stored and used on the farm.
The first change to the regulation is the removal of the requirement for farmers to complete a new NMS every five years. Farmers will still need to conduct annual reviews and to have a certified person prepare a new NMS if there are changes to livestock housing or manure storage, or if the farm changes owners.
The second change is to reclassify manures from non-farm herbivorous animals such as zebra, elephant or kangaroo, so that they can be used for fertilizer without requiring farms to have a NASM plan.
While these changes are relatively minor, they are part of the Ontario Government’s efforts to reduce regulatory burden as part of its Open for Business Action Plan.