Feed Management for Producers

The Feed Management Program is a USDA NRCS program that offers incentive payments.
Feed Management for Producers - Articles


Feed Management -- What a Dairy Producer Needs to Know

The purpose of the program is to supply levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in the diet of the animal at a level that meets (not exceeds) production requirements and reduces nutrients in the manure.

Why Should I Consider Feed Management?

Feeding nutrients more efficiently can improve net farm income.

  • Do you need more land to spread your manure?
  • Do you buy in the majority of feedstuffs for your farm? (> 45%)
  • Do you have a build-up of phosphorus in your soils?
  • Do you want to improve nutrient efficiency of your herd?

If you answered "YES" to any of these questions, Penn State and USDA have a solution for you.

How does the process work?

  1. Apply for NRCS Financial Assistance under the Feed Management Initiative. This can be done by visiting your local NRCS office.
  2. Information on EQIP or CBWI. Click the link for EQIP or CBWI and follow the link for the applications.
  3. Select a USDA-NRCS qualified dairy feed management plan writer by searching one of these sites:
    • Find a Technical Service Provider (TSP) certified in feed management:
      1. Select your county (takes you to another web page); Recommend selecting all counties in the pull-down box
      2. Select Feed Management for category in the next pull down box
      3. Select Feed Management - 592 for service in the next pull down box
      4. The list will contain all approved TSPs
  4. Ask your nutritionist if they are a certified feed management planner. Many nutritionists are certified but have not taken the next step to become a TSP under NRCS. Your inquiry may be what is needed to get them to the next step.

What happens when I am approved for feed management?

  1. Make arrangements with the qualified plan writer you have chosen to visit your farm.
  2. The qualified plan writer is required to develop a working plan that fits within your constraints.
  3. The TSP needs to develop a baseline plan. The producer needs to implement the plan. The TSP needs to do follow-up at least 4 times per year. Before first payment can be received by the producer, the TSP must submit the baseline plan with the 3-4 follow-ups to NRCS. This means it may be a year until a producer receives payment. NRCS is currently working to change this so producers could get payment earlier than a year from the contract date. The 2015 rates for producers are:

    Contract Payments over 3-year Period (payments subject to change):

    • $2,400 per group
    • HU: $2,800 per group*

    * HU Historically under-served producer
    ** Limit 5 groups per year per contract (Must develop and implement feeding plan)

For more information:

The Penn State Extension Dairy Nutrient Management Team has been training nutritionists to become certified and has actively been working with NRCS on feed management plans.

Penn State Extension Dairy Team Contact:

NRCS Contacts:

  • Dan Ludwig - southeast grazing specialist, USDA-NRCS Lebanon Technical Center - Main responsibilities include: Feed management program customer support, locating a TSP, and TSP qualifications and registration. dan.ludwig@pa.usda.gov or 717-274-2597, ext. 119

Online Resources: