September 12, 2001

The deadline for landowners engaged in agriculture or silviculture to develop and implement an individual agriculture water quality plan is Oct. 23.

Any landowner of 10 acres or more who is engaged in farming or timber production is required to have a plan. The plan is the responsibility of the landowner. If any pollution problem occurs, they will be asked to provide their water quality plan.

The plans are part of the Agriculture Water Quality Act passed by the 1994 Kentucky General Assembly.

The legislation's goal is to protect surface and ground water resources from potential pollution that may occur because of agricultural or silvicultural practices.

The water quality plan is a written document containing a series of best management practices identified in the state plan. The landowner selects and implements the BMPs pertinent to his operations. These BMPs are designed to help reduce erosion and run-off of nutrients, chemicals and other contaminants. There are more than 60 different BMPs outlined in the state plan that can be included in an individual plan. The number within each individual plan depends on the activities taking place on that specific farm.

Many landowners have already prepared a plan but for those yet to do so, assistance is available. Local conservation district offices and county offices of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service can provide the needed help.

The plans are not required to be filed with a specific agency. A copy is required to be filed only if the landowner is participating in the Kentucky Soil Erosion and Water Quality cost-share program.

However, landowners are encouraged to file self-certification forms with their local conservation district so that the stewardship efforts may be recognized.

If a complaint occurs it will be investigated by the Kentucky Division of Water to determine if there is a water quality problem. If one is found and traced to a farming or timber operation, the water quality plan will be reviewed to see if BMPs are being followed.

The landowner will then be referred to his local conservation district for assistance to correct the problem. Efforts to correct the problem must be made within a specific time frame.

For assistance in developing a water quality plan contact your local conservation district of county Extension office.


Jenny Cocanougher, (859) 257-6094