ST. CLOUD -- The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has created a new Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan to help prevent groundwater contamination due to nitrogen fertilizer.

Today members of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture gathered with local farmers at the Great River Regional Library to hear public comments on how to keep ground water safe.

Bruce Montgomery is the Manager of the Fertilizer Non-Point Section. He says the purpose of the revisions is to include what the previous plan lacked.

Initiated by the Department of Agriculture, the plan is the state's blueprint on how to address areas that have been impacted from the use of nitrogen fertilizer.

The plan has been around for about 20 years and thanks to funding from the Clean Water Legacy amendment, the department thought it was time to restructure the plan.

Revisions include an emphasis on prevention of groundwater contamination, extensive testing, consider alternative management tools, involve local producers to help solve concerns, and a new phased approach to assessing areas with nitrate contamination.

The Department of Agriculture will continue to listen to public comments until November 1st. They hope to have the new the plan in effect come this winter.

To see the revised Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan, visit the Department of Agriculture website.