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SOIL AND WATER

Nutrient Management training, exams

Nutrient Management Certification

Person attending nutrient management class.Those seeking nutrient management certification in Virginia must meet three requirements: education, experience, and passing both parts of the nutrient management exam. Planners may become certified in the Agriculture category, the Turf and Landscape category, or both.

Along with a college degree in a related major, applicants must have at least one year of job related experience in practical nutrient management. In lieu of the college degree, applicants must show a combination of education (to include nutrient management related courses or training) and at least three years of on-the-job, practical nutrient management experience.

Formal education for the Agriculture category: A four-year college degree in an agriculture related field is required. Subjects studied should be directly related to nutrient management, such as soils, soil fertility and plant science.

Formal education requirement for the Turf and Landscape category: A four-year college degree in an urban agronomy related field is required. Subjects studied should be directly related to nutrient management, such as soils, soil fertility and plant science.

Experience with formal education requirement: In addition to formal education, applicants must have at least one year of practical experience related to nutrient management planning or the application of nutrient management concepts and principles. This includes working farmers, landowners or grounds maintenance supervisors to develop fertility programs for crop production or for the establishment and maintainance of turf or landscaped areas.

Experience in nutrient management involves determining nutrient recommendations regarding fertilizers, manures or biosolids. These recommendations would require a working knowledge of: application rates based on realistic yields or soil productivity; other specific criteria based on the area and plants being fertilized; management of environmentally sensitive areas; and proper timing of nutrient applications. Such experience would entail dealing directly with people in the following positions, or holding such positions, as:

  • Agricultural category - agricultural fertilizer sales, biosolids permitting, conservation district personnel, independent consultant, farm operators or managers
  • Turf and Landscape Category - golf course superintendent or consultant, landscape architect, nursery manager, lawn care sales, management or consultant, turf fertilizer sales

No formal nutrient management education: For applicants with no formal education related to nutrient management, an agricultural or urban agronomic background is preferred, along with the completion of additional training and job experience in nutrient management. This should include nutrient management related courses, nutrient management planning job responsibilities, or both. The attendance of both agriculture training schools - the Soil Science, Soil Fertility and Crop Production School, and the Agricultural Plan Writing School - satisfies the education requirement for the Agriculture category. Attending both turf and landscape training schools - the Soil Science, Soil Fertility and Turf Production School and the Turf and Landscape Plan Writing School - satisfies the education requirement for the Turf and Landscape category.

Experience requirement with no formal nutrient management related education: Three years of practical experience related to nutrient management planning are required. This includes working in any capacity directly with farmers, landowners or grounds maintenance supervisors to develop fertility programs to produce crops or establish and maintain turf or landscaped areas. Work experience must include the use of fertilizers, manures and biosolids, or any combination thereof, taking into account soil productivity, realistic yield goals, nutrient needs that meet specific use requirements of given sites, environmentally sensitive areas, and the timing of nutrient applications to determine nutrient recommendations. Such experience would entail dealing directly with people in the following positions, or holding such positions, as:

  • Agricultural category - agricultural fertilizer sales, biosolids permitting, conservation district personnel, independent consultant, farm operators or managers
  • Turf and Landscape Category - golf course superintendent or consultant, landscape architect, nursery manager, lawn care sales, management or consultant, turf fertilizer sales

Exams: There are specific certification exams for those wishing to be certified in the Agriculture category, the Turf and Landscape category, or both. The application fee for each is $100, which covers the first two years of certification once the exam is passed and eligibility has been met.

Combination of categories: Those wanting certification in both categories must meet the education requirements for both categories. This can be accomplished with a combination of formal education, the attendance of appropriate DCR training schools or both. The experience requirement for each category is the same as outlined above. Those seeking certification in both categories must pass both parts of the Agriculture exam and only the practical component of the Turf and Landscape Category exam.

Recertification: Certificates are good for two years from the date the certificate is issued. To meet requirements for recertification, planners must have accumulated at least four DCR-approved continuing education credits and have written at least one nutrient management plan during those two years. Alternatively, if a planner writes no plans during the two-year period, at least four additional continuing education credits (i.e., a total of at least eight credits) are required. Continuing education credits for either category can be used to renew certification, regardless of the certification category(ies) a planner has.

The recertification fee is $100 and is good for two years.

If you have any questions about writing nutrient management plans or wish to apply to become a Virginia Nutrient Management Planner, the following staff members are available to help. For certification in the Turf and Landscape category, contact Urban Nutrient Management Specialist Derik Cataldi, 804-371-7489, email derik.cataldi@dcr.virginia.gov. For the Agriculture category, contact Nutrient Management Certification and Training Coordinator David Kindig, 804-371-8095, email david.kindig@dcr.virginia.gov.

Nutrient Management Training

Nutrient Management Training Schools: If you don't have a college degree with a major in an agriculture-related area with course work in the areas of nutrient management, such as soils, soil fertility and plant science, you must attend both sessions in order to meet the education component of the eligibility requirements for certification. If you're unsure about whether or not you meet the education requirements, contact Nutrient Management Training and Certification Coordinator David Kindig, 804-371-8095 or email david.kindig@dcr.virginia.gov, before the sessions begin.

The number of pupils attending each session is limited so that we may provide participants a good, hands-on learning environment, so register as soon as possible. You must register at least two weeks before the start of the school. Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until the class is full.

Agriculture Training Schools


Soil Science, Soil Fertility and Crop Production School (two-day session)

Dates: To be announced in October 2014
Times: TBD
Location: TBD
Registration Fee: TBD

This two-day session is a lecture series by Virginia Tech professors who cover soil science, soil fertility, organic nutrient sources and crop production material. Students with no previous training in these subjects will find this session helpful in understanding how nutrients react and interact when applied to the soil. This session could be described as a mini-agronomy course. It will also help prepare you for the core component of the exam. The registration fee includes copies of all presentations, student exercises and reference material.

Nutrient Management Plan Writing School (three-day session)

Dates: To be announced in October 2014
Times: TBD
Location: TBD
Registration Fee: TBD

This focuses entirely on how to write a nutrient management plan using a case study. Participants learn how to apply the Nutrient Management Certification and Training Regulations and the Standards and Criteria to a real “farm type” situation. Participants work through writing all components of a nutrient management plan using various hands-on exercises to learn each step of plan development. Bring a good calculator and plenty of paper to take notes and work out the exercises. This course will also help prepare you for the practical component of the exam. The registration fee includes copies of all presentations, student exercises and reference material.

Registration: Contact Susan Jones in our Tappahannock office at 804-443-6752 or email susan.jones@dcr.virginia.gov to register.

This flier has registration information for both agriculture schools.


Turf and Landscape Training Schools


Soil Science, Soil Fertility and Turf Production School
(two-day session)
The Soil Science, Soil Fertility and Turf Production School is a lecture series by Virginia Tech professors and DCR staff members. Based on the topics covered, it could be described as a mini-agronomy class.
Date: To be announced in October
Time: TBD
Location: TBD
Fee: TBD

Turf and Landscape Plan Writing School (two-day session)
The Nutrient Management Plan Writing School for Turf and Landscape covers writing nutrient management plans using Virginia’s criteria. This is a hands-on session in which participants complete exercises using case-study information from a golf course, an athletic field, etc., to write the various components of a nutrient management plan. Date: To be announced in October
Time: TBD
Location: TBD
Fee: TBD

To register, contact Susan Jones in our Tappahannock office at 804-443-6752 or email susan.jones@dcr.virginia.gov to register.

This flier has registration information for both turf and landscape schools.

Continuing Education Opportunities

DCR-sponsored training

None scheduled at this time.

Other nutrient management continuing education opportunities

The following meetings have been awarded nutrient management continuing education credits. Please review these meetings and take the opportunity to update your knowledge and gain continuing education credits towards your recertification.

Some sessions listed below have sign-up sheets to record credits. There are also other meetings that may qualify for nutrient management continuing education credits. For such meetings without sign-up sheets, you’ll need to actively request the continuing education credits. You’ll need proof of attendance and a photocopy of the meeting agenda and of your name badge or registration form. Send these items to Dave Kindig in a letter requesting the credits.

There are no continuing education credit opportunities at this time. Credits will be posted when they are available.

Online Continuing Education Credits Opportunity

Do you need a few credits to renew nutrient management certification? Are you looking for information on the latest crop production issues? Visit the Certified Crop Advisors (CCA) website to download articles and related exams to earn continuing education credits. You needn't be a certified crop advisor to take part.

To obtain continuing education credits, print the article, complete and pass the associated test (fee around $25), and send the article and test results to:

Dave Kindig, DCR
600 E. Main St., 24th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219

For more information about the CCA’s website, call 608-268-4954 or email pmagana@sciencesocieties.org.

Articles cover various topics. A specific number of continuing education credits are awarded with each article. The Virginia Nutrient Management Program allows the approval of up to four continuing education units (CEUs) toward your required nutrient management continuing education credits. Only articles directly related to nutrient management subjects, as outlined in the Virginia Nutrient Management Training and Certification Regulations, may be used to earn nutrient management continuing education credits.

Virginia Nutrient Management Certification Exams

Nutrient Management Certification - Agriculture

Date: Feb. 5, 2015
Time: 8:20 - 11:30 a.m.
Location: TBD
Fee: TBD

Nutrient Management Certification - Turf and Landscape

Date: Feb. 5, 2015
Time: 8:20 - 11:30 a.m.
Location: TBD
Fee: TBD

NOTE: Applicants who become certified Virginia Nutrient Management Planners agree to abide by the standards outlined in the Virginia Nutrient Management Training and Certification Regulations when writing nutrient management plans.

Click here to download an application form. Request a full application packet for either category from:

Susan Jones, DCR
P.O. Box 1425
Tappahannock, VA 22560

Or you may call 804-443-6752, fax 804-443-4534. Completed applications and the $100 exam registration fee must be received no later than 5 p.m., 30 days prior to the exam date. Register early to be sure you meet the application deadline. Incomplete applications and applications lacking the $100 fee cannot be processed until complete. Incomplete applications include those on which the applicant fails to provide evidence of meeting the minimum education, training and experience requirements that allow DCR staff to determine the applicant's eligibility for certification. Upon review of a completed application, applicants will be notified by mail as to their eligibility to become certified.

The exam registration fee covers the exam and the initial two-year certification period. Applicants failing to pass the exam may retake the exam once more at no charge.

Review sessions

Turf and Landscape Category

Date: Feb. 5, 2015
Time: 1:30 - 3 p.m.
Location: TBD
Fee: No fee

Agriculture Category

Date: Feb. 5, 2015
Time: 3:30 - 5 p.m.
Location: TBD
Fee: No fee

This session covers nutrient management and provides a forum for any questions you may have about nutrient management plan writing. It also covers exam day procedures as well as how to take multiple choice exams. This free session will be held at the same place where the exam takes place. Participants should bring the reference material they received from the training schools and be prepared to ask questions. This is the only review session held before the exam. Registration is recommended, but not required. Contact Susan Jones at 804-443-6752 for more information.

Bring a simple four-function calculator to the review session and exam.

Candidates taking the exam again

Those retaking one or both parts of the exam are required to submit an updated application, in which only parts 1, 2, 4 and 6 are completed if nothing changed since you last applied. Contact Susan Jones, 804-443-6752 or email susan.jones@dcr.virginia.gov, to see if you are required to submit the $100 fee with your application.

For more information about any of the above announcements or Virginia's Nutrient Management Program, please contact David Kindig at 804-371-8095 or email david.kindig@dcr.virginia.gov.