Nutrient Management Act, 2002 - NMA Records and Renewals

Factsheet - ISSN 1198-712X   -   Copyright Queen's Printer for Ontario
Agdex#: 720/538
Publication Date: 03/2013
Order#: 13-027
Last Reviewed: December 2018
Written by: P. Doris - Environmental Specialist/OMAFRA

PDF Version - 563 KB

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Table of Contents

  1. Overview of Nutrient Management Strategy and Nutrient Management Plan Requirements
  2. Records
  3. Renewals
  4. Annual Summary and Update
  5. NMS and NMP Requirements

Overview of Nutrient Management Strategy and Nutrient Management Plan Requirements

Nutrient management strategies (NMS) and nutrient management plans (NMP) are required for some farms in Ontario. This Factsheet provides an overview of the requirements for recordkeeping, annual renewals and updates to maintain an NMS and NMP in good standing.

Use this document as a guideline, and for further and detailed information, consult the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 (NMA), and O. Reg. 267/03 before making any decisions about your farm unit or agricultural operation where nutrients are concerned. If a discrepancy arises between this document and the legislation, the latter prevails.

Farms required to have an NMS or NMP must:

  • maintain the necessary records noted below
  • renew the NMS/NMP
  • prepare and keep an annual review and update


A nutrient management strategy (NMS) includes:

  • details of how nutrients generated on the farm, such as manure, are managed
  • number of livestock
  • amount of manure produced
  • amount of storage available
  • how the nutrients are utilized

A nutrient management plan (NMP) includes:

  • documentation of land application of nutrients on farm fields
  • crop rotation
  • fertilizer program
  • manure application
  • crop yield expectations


Nutrient Management Strategies

An NMS is valid for a maximum of 5 years. It must be renewed 90 days before the fifth anniversary of approval or preparation.

These changes in an operation also trigger a requirement for early renewal of the NMS:

  • construction or expansion of livestock housing or a manure storage facility, including an earthen nutrient facility that was not contemplated in the current NMS
  • change of ownership or control of the farm unit that adversely affects the capacity to implement the current NMS (a new NMS required within 3 months)
  • on-farm receipt and treatment of off-farm materials through a regulated mixed anaerobic digester (AD)

The three scenarios outlined above require the renewed NMS to be approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Rural Affairs (OMAF and MRA). Approval of the renewed NMS at 5 years is only required if the farm unit is located within 100 m of a municipal well.

For all other NMS renewals (e.g., fifth anniversary where municipal wells are more than 100 m from the farm unit), the renewed NMS is not approved by OMAF and MRA, but is kept on the farm and is subject to inspection by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE). The farm must register with OMAF and MRA as outlined in Part 9 of the Nutrient Management Protocol.

Nutrient Management Plans

NMP renewal is required:

  • ninety days before the fifth anniversary of the preparation of the last NMP
  • if the farm receives non-agricultural source material (NASM) and the current NMP does not account for NASM application

Only a person certified by OMAF and MRA to prepare an NMS and an NMP can renew them. The renewed NMP is not approved but is kept on file at the farm and is subject to inspection by MOE.

Annual Summary and Update

NMSs and NMPs require annual summaries and updates. By February 15 of each year:

  • summarize the previous year's activities related to the NMS and/or NMP
  • document any changes to your NMS or NMP for the upcoming year

Keep the summary and update with your NMS and NMP files, as MOE can ask to see these summaries and updates. A sample summary and update is included below for your reference.

Sample Summary and Update

NMS and NMP Summary – Previous Year: 2012
  • NMS predicted 100 dairy cows, 20 calves, 80 heifers.
  • Actual numbers at year end were 110, 21 and 97. Had adequate manure storage because storage constructed for 300 days capacity (>240 days).
  • Barnyard runoff continued to be managed by permanently vegetated area (PVA).
  • Loss of rented J. Doe Farm (38 ha (95 acres)) to another farmer at the end of the year. Not available for future manure spreading.
  • Fields 1, 2 and 4 were in grain corn, not soy as noted in NMP. Nutrient balances were recalculated by NM consultant (in file). Manure applied at rates of:
    • Field #1: 50,549 L/ha (4,500 gal/acre)
    • Field #2: 67,398 L/ha (6,000 gal/acre)
    • Field #4: 50,549 L/ha (4,500 gal/acre)
  • New drilled well in Field 2. Kept 15-m setback for manure application around well. Field map updated.
  • Drag line burst on May 14, resulting in liquid manure spill in Field 2. Called MOE and township and implemented contingency plan (called in ABC Sucker Truck Service). Break was approximately 305 m (1,000 ft) from creek so was able to clean up before reached water. Monitored tile outlets: no evidence of manure in tile outlet.
NMS and NMP Update – Upcoming Year: 2013
  • Continue with dairy herd at approximate numbers projected in NMS. Purchase of 5 sheep for daughter's upcoming 4-H club project. Use one maternity pen from dairy barn for sheep; have adequate manure storage for sheep manure along with dairy.
  • Runoff: may have to reroute and reconstruct PVA in non-tiled area if south part of Field 6 is tile drained this year.
  • As result of loss of J. Doe Farm, transferring 1,818,400 L (400,000 gal.) of liquid manure to XYZ Broker Inc. in spring 2013. Signed broker agreement in file.
  • Fields 1, 2 and 4 will be in soy (not corn)
  • NM consultant to redo NM balances in March for these corn fields, and soil test fields this year for next NMP.

NMS and NMP Requirements

Use this checklist to determine the recordkeeping needed for the farm operation.

NMS and NMP Recordkeeping Checklist for Producers

___ copy of the NMS and NMP as required by the Regulation

___ completed form indicating that a producer-consultant meeting occurred within 40 days of approval of the NMS (assuming the consultant prepares the NMS and sends it to OMAF and MRA, Guelph)

___ annual review and update

___ if using temporary field storage (TFS) – the date the site was established, date of mixing or turning, date removed from the site, sketch with setback distances, surface water and other TFS sites

___ if material is transferred off or onto the farm unit – nutrient transfer and broker agreements; indicate the type and quantity of material, dates for transfer, names of both parties, contact information and signatures

___ for new or expanded liquid storage facilities – site characterization, engineer commitment certificates and engineering reports, such as the general review of construction upon completion

___ if using vegetated filter strip systems (VFSS) – engineered design, notes about regular inspections and actions taken to ensure proper functioning of the VFSS

___ for regulated mixed anaerobic digestion (AD) system – engineered design, name and address of the source of off-farm materials, name and address of transporters, type and volume of off-farm material, required analysis of the materials, when secondary gas burning occurs (if used) and destination of AD output

___ certificates – if farmer prepares own NMS/NMP, a copy of the Agricultural Operation Development Certificate is required

___ if there is a change of ownership, control or an operator change – submit to Director, OMAF and MRA, within 15 days of the change

Note: Records must be kept for at least 2 years after the NMS or NMP expires.

Nutrient Management Disclaimer 2018

The information in this factsheet is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon to determine legal obligations. To determine your legal obligations, consult the relevant law, If legal advice is required, consult a lawyer. In the event of a conflict between the information in this factsheet and any applicable law, the law prevails.

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