Nutrient Management

Pennsylvania’s Nutrient Management Act (Act 38): Who Is Affected?

 In spring 1993, the Pennsylvania legislature passed and the governor signed the Nutrient Management Act (Act 6) into law. The regulations implementing this law went into effect in 1997. In 2002 the State Conservation Commission began an effort to revise these regulations. In summer 2005, the Pennsylvania legislature replaced Act 6 with Act 38 as part of the Agriculture, Communities, and Rural Environment (ACRE) initiative. The new regulations, now falling under the new Act 38, were finalized in 2006 and went into effect in October of that year.


  • This law requires high-density livestock and poultry farms (Concentrated Animal Operations) in the Commonwealth to develop and implement approved nutrient management plans.
  • Concentrated Animal Operations (CAOs) are defined as operations with 2 or more animal equivalent units (AEUs) per acres. (1 AEU = 1000lb animal). Operations with 2 or more AEU’s/acre of suitable land for manure application, and a minimum of 8 AEU’s, must have a Nutrient Management Plan.


* Note that all animal operations that do not fall under this animal density threshold are still required to have and follow a Manure Management Plan regardless of animal numbers or density.


Plans developed under this law are written by certified specialists who have met the criteria of Pennsylvania’s Nutrient Management Specialist Certification Program. Plans are submitted to the county Conservation Districts for review and approval, if they meet program requirements. The law also encourages the non-regulated farm community to plan and implement under the act. Implemented Nutrient Management plans can improve water quality, reduce fertilizer costs, improve herd health and provide numerous other operational benefits to the farmer. In addition, all producers following the provisions of the law will benefit from limited liability protection afforded under the Act.


For more information, contact Abby Reiter at 610-489-4506 (x24) or


Useful Links:

Pennsylvania Nutrient Management

Penn State Nutrient Management Information

Mission Statement
To protect and improve the quality of life of the residents of Montgomery County and surrounding communities by providing, in cooperation with others, timely and efficient service, education, and technical guidance, for the wise use of our soil, water, and related resources.

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