Understanding the NJ Fertilizer Law for Turf Applications Jim Murphy Extension Specialist in Turfgrass Management NJ Fertilizer Law Taken effect in 2011 – Fertilizer applications… • prohibited just prior to or during heavy rainfall, or any time soil is saturated or frozen • to an impervious surfaces must be cleaned up • prohibited from November 15th - March 1st for homeowners, December 1st - March 1st for professional applicators NJ Fertilizer Law Takes effect 5 January 2012… – Application of fertilizers containing N and/or P restricted in buffer areas alongside waterbodies (25 or 10 feet). – Turf fertilizers must be zero phosphate. Only apply phosphate if prescribed by a soil test, when new turf is being established or repaired, or when using certain products with organic components containing phosphorus. – Limits the annual N rate – Limits N rate per application – Professional fertilizer applicators must be certified or trained and supervised by a certified fertilizer applicator Professional Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training (ProFACT) profact.rutgers.edu Certified Fertilizer Applicators All persons that apply fertilizer for commercial purposes or any hired individual who applies fertilizer to turf shall: 1. Employ or retain the services of a Certified Fertilizer Applicator, or be a Certified Fertilizer Applicator. 2. Apply fertilizer at rates, times, and methods that are consistent with standards and criteria for nutrient management promulgated by the New Jersey Legislature and NJAES-accepted standards in accordance with the law. 3. Ensure that fertilizer applications are conducted as prescribed by trained or certified applicators. Trained Applicators In addition to Certified Fertilizer Applicators, the following individuals may apply fertilizer to turf : 1. Individuals engaged in training required for a Trained Applicator or for certification provided that the individuals are under the direct on-site supervision of a Certified Fertilizer Applicator. 2. Trained Applicators under the direct supervision of the supervising Certified Fertilizer Applicator who shall provide written instructions and maintain immediate contact with the Trained Applicator via radio or phone (voice) communication and be within reasonable driving distance of the location where fertilizer is being applied by the Trained Applicator. Training Topics Training and examination of applicants will be conducted online and include the following subject areas: 1. Hazards involved in, and the environmental impact of, applying fertilizer, including nutrient pollution to waterbodies; 2. Best management practices (BMP) developed by the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station for nutrient management in turf; 3. Correct interpretation of fertilizer labeling information; 4. Proper use and calibration of fertilizer application equipment; and 5. All applicable State and federal laws, rules and regulations. Certification Program: Registration The registration form is completed online at the NJAES website and shall contain the applicant’s: 1. Last name, first name, and middle initial; 2. Complete mailing address, phone, fax, and e-mail address; 3. Affiliation, company, or business name, mailing address, phone, fax, and e-mail address; and 4. Documentation of successful completion of NJAES-approved training, if applicable. No fees for access to the online education and training materials. Certification Program: Examination $75 fee charged to initiate the online examination. If necessary, applicant may retake the online test within 30 days. A second retake within 60 days by contacting NJAES. Upon passing the examination, a certification card will be issued electronically to the Certified Fertilizer Applicator, which can be printed by the Certified Fertilizer Applicator and will be valid through the 31st of December. The certification card will be annually updated and electronically issued upon payment of the $25 annual fee through the NJAES website. E-mail notification. Certification Program: Re-certification Certification is valid for 4 years, with payment of annual fee. Re-certification possible through 2 methods: 1. Earn continuing education credits (online and approved meetings) during the 4 years cycle and payment of annual fee, or... 2. Re-train and retake examination. Trained Applicator Program Trained Applicators will receive training through the NJAES website or from a program approved by NJAES. After training and payment of $25 fee, a record of the Trained Applicator will be entered and maintained for 1 year on the NJAES website and shall include: 1. Last name, first name, and middle initial of the Trained Applicator; 2. Complete mailing address, phone, fax, and e-mail address; 3. Affiliation, company, or business name, mailing address, phone, fax, and e-mail address; 4. Name of the supervising Certified Fertilizer Applicator; 5. Name and contact information of qualified organization or person providing training to the Trained Applicator, if not NJAES; 6. Date when the Trained Applicator successfully completed individual applicator training; and 7. Calendar year for which the training applies. http://profact.rutgers.edu/ Professional Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training (ProFACT) Functional by 15 December 2011 – Register as a user (to become a Certified Fertilizer Applicator) – Initiate training and track progress Functional by January – Pay fee and take exam once training is complete at user’s request – Notification of passing or need to re-take – Delivery of Certificate – Training for Trained Applicators Questions profact.rutgers.edu …when using certain products with organic components containing phosphorus Discussion “Fertilizer” means a fertilizer material, mixed fertilizer or any other substance containing one or more recognized plant nutrients, which is used for its plant nutrient content, designed for use or claimed to have value in promoting plant growth, and sold, offered for sale, or intended for sale; except that it shall not include unmanipulated animal or vegetable manures, agricultural liming materials, wood ashes, or processed sewage wastewater solids. …when using certain products with organic components containing phosphorus Discussion e. A person may apply fertilizer containing phosphorus to turf if the fertilizer consists of manipulated animal or vegetable manure, includes no more than 0.25 pounds of phosphorus per 1,000 square feet when applied pursuant to the instructions on the container, and otherwise complies with the provisions of this act. What about animal and vegetable meals? Does “fertilizer consists of” mean mixed fertilizers? Definition of fertilizer in the law suggests not. If it does apply to mixed fertilizers, what about biosolids? …when using certain products with organic components containing phosphorus Comments for the Department of Agriculture Interpret language broadly to… – include animal and vegetable meals along with manures (AAPFCO defines meals and manures separately) ? – include mixed fertilizers containing the above in the exemption of: …may apply fertilizer containing phosphorus to turf if… no more than 0.25 pounds of phosphorus per 1,000 square feet when applied… ? – then also include biosolids as an acceptable component of mixed fertilizer for this exemption ?
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