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Agriculture Workgroup

Scope and Purpose

The charge of the Agriculture Workgroup is to provide expertise and leadership on development and implementation of policies, programs, and research to reduce pollutant loads delivered from agricultural lands and animal operations to upstream waters and the Chesapeake Bay.  The Workgroup reports to the Water Quality Goal Implementation Team.  Functions include:

  • Provide a forum for discussion, exchange of information, and evaluation between federal, state, and local agencies, conservation districts, universities, agri-business, and the corporate sector on sustainable and/or cost-effective agricultural production systems that benefit water and air quality.
  • Provide recommendations on the prioritization of federal and state technical and financial resources on specific practices in priority watersheds.
  • Provide technical expertise and leadership to support the development and implementation of agricultural elements within the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, Watershed Implementation Plans, two-year milestones, and tracking and reporting mechanisms that support an adaptive management approach towards Bay restoration.  
  • Coordinate with WQGIT Watershed Technical Workgroup to identify, define, quantify, and incorporate pollutant reduction and conservation practices on agricultural lands and animal operations into the Chesapeake Bay Program decision support system. Provide data and support for the Water Quality Goal Implementation Team and Technical and Support Services.

Goals and Priorities

More detail about the workgroup's goals and priorities can be found on ChesapeakeStat.

Upcoming Events

    Agriculture Workgroup Conference Call, May 2017


    Date / Time:

    May 18, 2017
    10:00 am - 12:00 pm


    Monthly meeting of the Agriculture Workgroup. Agenda and materials will be posted when they become available. Contact Lindsey Gordon (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) with questions.

    Related Files:

Phase 6 Chesapeake Bay Model Poultry Data Webinar


Date / Time:

May 24, 2017
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Webinar on the Phase 6 Chesapeake Bay Model, with an emphasis on poultry data.

Contact Lindsey Gordon (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) with questions.

Webinar link (enter as guest; all audio will be through this link): https://epawebconferencing.acms.com/mpawebinars

Agriculture Workgroup Quarterly Face-to-Face Meeting, June 2017


UMD Wye Research and Education Center
124 Wye Narrows Dr, Queenstown, MD 21658

Date / Time:

June 28, 2017
12:00 am - 12:00 pm


2-day face-to-face quarterly meeting for the Agriculture Workgroup. Agenda and materials will be posted when they become available. Contact Lindsey Gordon (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) with questions.

Past Meetings & Events

  • February 17, 2016 to February 18, 2016 - Agriculture Workgroup Quarterly Meeting, February 2016
  • October 11, 2012 - Agriculture Workgroup Meeting
  • September 20, 2012 - Agriculture Workgroup Meeting
  • January 12, 2012 - Agriculture Workgroup Meeting
  • December 8, 2011 - Agriculture Workgroup Meeting
  • October 13, 2011 - Agriculture Workgroup Meeting

  • Agriculture Workgroup Poultry and Swine Nutrients Reporting Template

    States are to report updated nutrient concentrations by swine and poultry animal type annually as part of their reporting of yearly progress. This template is provided to aid states in the collection and reporting of the information to the Chesapeake Bay Program.

    Agriculture Workgroup Rolling Timeline

    The attached files outline the Agriculture Workgroup's deadlines and decisions calendar for the Phase 6 Watershed Model. Both an excel and .pdf version are attached.

    This timeline is a living document, and will be regularly updated and reposted to this page.

    Email Lindsey Gordon (gordon.lindsey@epa.gov) with questions.

    Phase 6 Scenario Builder Review

    Scenario Builder is a data management tool that provides estimates of land use acres, nutrient inputs, cropland attributes, and best management practice (BMP) implementation data to the Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership's Phase 6 Watershed Model. The documentation and initial application rates to crops that are provided in the link below will help inform a full partnership review of the tool's documentation, during which the Agricultural Modeling Subcommittee (AMS) hopes to receive comments that could result in improvements to the tool in the spring and summer of 2016.

    June 23, 2016:
    The Agriculture Workgroup requested two nutrient spread application procedures be tested in advance of its July 20-21 face-to-face meeting. Nutrient applications from inorganic fertilizer, manure and biosolids from both versions are now available for download at ftp://ftp.chesapeakebay.net/Modeling/Phase6/Ph6Calibration_Beta2/20160401/inputs/ScenarioBuilder/. The two procedures are briefly described below.

    • The first procedure, known as Beta 3a, relies upon an estimate of fertilizer sales across the watershed, and distributes those sales to counties based upon dollars spent by a county, as reported by the Census of Agriculture, and inorganic crop nutrient need after manure and biosolids applications are made. Using this method, the total pounds of inorganic fertilizer applied across the watershed are equal (never above or below) the total pounds of fertilizer sales estimated across the watershed.
    • The second procedure, known as Beta 3b, applies inorganic fertilizer to fulfill crop nutrient need after manure and biosolids applications are made. Using this method, the total pounds of inorganic fertilizer applied across the watershed may exceed or be lower than the estimated fertilizer sales across the watershed. This procedure is similar in method to the current Phase 5.3.2 inorganic fertilizer application procedure.
    • States are encouraged to review the results of each procedure prior to the July 20 meeting. A detailed analysis of the two methods, including areas of disagreement between the two methods, will be provided at the meeting.
    • Please do not hesitate to contact Matt Johnston at mjohnston@chesapeakebay.net or 410-267-5707 if you have any questions.

    July 13, 2016:

    A recording of the July 13, 2016 webinar on the results of the Beta 3a and 3b Scenario Builder Nutrient Spread representation is now available for viewing through the following link: http://epawebconferencing.acms.com/p5apiku3c06/

    The purpose of the webinar was to review the inputs to the Beta 3 version of Scenario Builder, review the two methods to representing nutrient spread that were used in Beta 3a and 3b, provide a summary of the results, and to answer any questions that AgWG members and interested parties had when interpreting these results.

    Materials from the webinar are available through the following link: http://www.chesapeakebay.net/channel_files/24182/webinar_presentation.pdf

    August 23, 2016:

    At its July meeting, the Agriculture Workgroup approved the use of AAPFCO fertilizer sales data to inform applications of inorganic fertilizer by county during the calibration period (1984-2013) of the Phase 6 Watershed Model. The Workgroup approved distributing total pounds of inorganic fertilizer sold across the watershed to counties based solely upon inorganic crop application goals left over after applications of biosolids and manure. The files attached below ('Beta 3a1-XXX.xlsx')  provide applications and legume fixation by land use and crop following these new recommendations. Please contact Matt Johnston at 410-267-5707 if you have any questions following review of this information.

    *To download the Beta 3a1 Plant-Available Applications to Crops, please use the following link: http://www.chesapeakebay.net/assets/documents/Beta3A1-NutrientsAppliedToCrops-PlantAvailable.xlsx

    To view the new time series data for Beta 3a(1) (also known as Beta 3c) on Tableau, please use the following link: https://public.tableau.com/profile/olivia.devereux#!/vizhome/ChesapeakeBayPhase6WatershedModelInputs/Introduction

    Improvements for the April calibration include:
    • Inorganic fertilizer was distributed to crops only after all BMPs were simulated that would impact the amount of manure available to crops and the amount of agricultural acres with remaining nutrient application needs.
    • Manure mineralization rates, which impact the amount of manure nutrients available to crops, were updated to reflect typical nutrient management mineralization rates by decade.
    • Manure recoverability, or the amount of manure generated in a barnyard that can be made available to crops, before and after the implementation of Animal Waste Management Systems was updated to reflect estimates provided in  http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcs143_012131.pdf.
    • Acres of barnyards or feeding facilities were updated to reflect the Bay Program’s best estimates per animal type.
    • Nutrient application goals for the minor crops, emmer, spelt and triticale, were based upon state-recommended applications on a per acre basis as very little yield data was available to vary the application goals by annual yield.

    December 12, 2016:

    The Beta 4 Input Data, including nutrients applied by land use and by crop type, are now available to download from the FTP site using the following link:


    Please use the link below to access a draft version of Scenario Builder documentation and initial application rates to land uses crops for the January, 2016 initial calibration run.

    Download the zip file titled: "Ph6CalibrationFiles_20151109.zip"
    To access the Scenario Builder draft documentation, download the file: 'SBV6Documentation_01212016.pdf'

    Phase 6 Agricultural Land Uses

    Manure Treatment Subgroup Written Charge to Expert Panel

    Building a Better Bay Model: A Workshop for Agricultural Partners, May 22-23 2013

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