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Fertilizer & Manure Guide
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Nutrient Applications

Western Lake Erie Basin

In 2014, Ohio Senate Bill 150 created special restrictions on the application of fertilizer and manure in the Western basin of Lake Erie. These rules do not affect any restrictions currently in place for concentrated animal feeding facilities (CAFFs).

Nitrogen, Phosphorus, & Manure Application Restrictions

If farm owners/operators or nutrient applicators will inject, incorporate (within 24 hours), or apply nutrients to a growing crop, then no special restrictions apply. Otherwise:

  • No N, P, or manure can be applied when the ground is snow-covered, frozen, or saturated by rainfall in the top 2 inches of soil.
  • No granular N or P can be applied when the local weather forecast for the application area contains greater than a 50% chance of precipitation exceeding one inch in a twelve-hour period
  • No manure can be applied when the local weather forecast for the application area contains greater than a 50% chance of precipitation exceeding one-half inch in a 24 hour period.

ORC 905.326 Application of fertilizer in western basin
ORC 1511.10 Application of manure in the western basin

Watersheds in Distress

A Watershed in Distress is a watershed, which has aquatic life and health that is impaired by nutrients from agricultural land uses. Threats to public health, drinking water supplies, recreation, and public safety are also taken into consideration when a watershed is designated in distress.

Farming operations within the designated watershed are subject to specific requirements for the storage, handling and land application of manure and also require nutrient management plans. These rules do not affect any restrictions currently in place for concentrated animal feeding facilities (CAFFs).

OAC 1501:15-5 Animal Waste and Agricultural Pollution
OAC 901:13-1-11 Land Application of Animal Manure

Agricultural Fertilizer Applicator Certification (statewide)

Anyone who applies or supervises the application of a commercial fertilizer to 50 or more acres of agricultural production grown primarily for sale must be certified by September 30, 2017. The law also allows for an uncertified person to apply fertilizer if they are under the direct supervision of a person who is certified. Under this program, fertilizer does not include lime, limestone, marl, underground bone, water, residual from farm products, and animal or vegetable manures, unless mixed with fertilizer materials or distributed with a guaranteed analysis.

OAC 901:5-4 Fertilizer Applicators

Concentrated Animal Feeding Facilities (statewide)

The Ohio Department of Agriculture's the Division of Livestock Environmental Permitting (DLEP) is responsible for regulating how Ohio's largest livestock and poultry farms handle manure and waste water. It ensures the state's largest operations follow science-based guidelines that protect the environment while allowing the facility to be productive. The largest confined livestock facilities, or concentrated animal feeding facilities (CAFFs), are required to obtain permits from ODA.

Manure originating from a concentrated animal feeding facility can only be applied by a person holding a Certified Livestock Manager (CLM) certification, or an Agricultural Fertilizer Applicator (AFA) certification.

Certified Livestock Manager

Certification Livestock Manager (CLM) certification is required for the manager or handler of manure at a major CAFF, for a livestock manure broker that buys, sells or land applies more than 4,500 tons per year or 25 million gallons of liquid manure (or its equivalent), and for a person who land applies and transports more than 4,500 dry tons per year, or 25 million gallons of liquid manure (or its equivalent). CLMs must complete ten hours of continuing education every three years to maintain their certification.

The operating record for a certified livestock manager must be kept for a minimum period of five years. Record requirements are specified in OAC 901:10-2-16.

OAC 901:10 Livestock Environmental Permitting
ORC 903:Concentrated Animal Feeding Facilities

Contact Information

To report nuisance complaints or air quality concerns:

To report suspected nutrient runoff or illegal nutrient applications:

For assistance with and approval of nutrient management plans:

For questions about the Agricultural Fertilizer Applicator certificate program or fertilizer applications in the Western Lake Erie Basin:

For questions about manure applications in the Western Lake Erie Basin or Watersheds in Distress:

For questions about CAFFs or Certified Livestock Managers: