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Background

4R NMS - 4R Nutrient Management Specialty

Next CCA Exam Date:  February 2, 2018
Registration period October 2 - December 8, 2017


The 4R NMS specialty is for CCAs who do nutrient management planning and focus their work in this area.  It allows CCAs to prove their knowledge, advance their skills and draw awareness to their abilities.  It should align with USDA-NRCS and state nutrient management standards.

The 4R NMS exam and certification does not replace the state/provincial required exams or rules for nutrient management planning for those states/provinces with such rules.  Please check with your state/province for additional information about their nutrient management rules and regulations. 
**Pennsylvania CCAs:  The 4R NMS certification does not replace or equal the PA State licensing requirements for nutrient management, specifically Act 38 nutrient management planning.  Please check with the state office responsible for nutrient management planning and follow their requirements.  Practicing outside of the state’s requirements could result in a fine and decertification from the state and the CCA Program.

This exam is being offered by the local boards of the following states/provinces:  Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.  You must already have a CCA certification within these states to be eligible to take the 4R NMS exam.

There are plans to expand to more states in the near future.  If you would like to see this specialty be available in your state/province, please contact your local board contact or ICCA Representative.

Once the 4R exam is passed, an annual maintenance fee will be charged in addition to your CCA renewal, and the minimum CEUs required for Nutrient Management and Soil and Water Management will increase to 7.5 each (from 5.0).

ASA and the ICCA Program do not produce nor endorse all of these study materials.  Some are produced by other organizations as noted.

  • Preparatory Course: 4Rs Nutrient Management - In and Out of Season Webinar Series

    Everybody is talking about 4Rs, and the importance of policing ourselves before others do. This 6-webinar series reviewed the essentials of Right Source, Right Rate, Right Place, Right Time, and built upon the 4R Nutrient Management Specialist (4R NMS) performance objectives to provide practical information the planner can use year-round in nutrient management recommendations.

    4R Nutrient Management considers the integration of agronomic practices with economic analysis and environmental interaction, all considered at the local field level, as well as social impacts for the community, and for downstream stakeholders.

    CCAs:  This series can be used to prepare for the specialty certification exam (local boards offering the exam are listed above). The performance objectives for the exam may be found here.

    The CCA is expected to have background knowledge of the Performance Objectives (POs) in the Nutrient Management Competency Areas used in preparation for the ICCA Exam. These POs address soil testing and plant tissue analysis, nutrient sources, nutrient placing and timing, and nutrient management planning. To some degree, the 4Rs are reflected in each of these areas. The POs for the 4R Nutrient Management Specialist go beyond the basics to integrate the knowledge in developing plans that meet the 4R goals as well as comply with appropriate state and national regulations, as appropriate.

    Webinar Series Objectives

    This series provides the CCA with practical examples and basic principles to use in order to:

    • Utilize published values to determine the annual, available N and P excreted in manure by a herd.
    • Determine the land base required to utilize the N and P, and adjust fertilizer recommendations according to N and P manure credits.
    • Utilize soil tests, crop selection, soil and weather conditions, environmental considerations, economic factors, and nutrient credits from previous management to determine right N, P, and K application rates.
    • Discuss how application timing affects choices of right nutrient form and potential losses due to weather phenomena and loss mechanisms.
    • Discuss how crop uptake patterns, soil conditions, nutrient source and form, cover crops affect decisions concerning right timing.
    • Discuss the importance of soil, weather, cropping systems and crop characteristics, tillage practices, application timing, fertilizer form, and potential loss factors on determining right placement.
    • Discuss the most common forms of N, P, and K in the appropriate state.
    • Determine the right source of N and discuss the considerations used to determine the right source of P and K based on soil and climate conditions, crop selection, growth stage, cropping systems, environmental concerns, and/or soil or tissues tests.
    • Evaluate N and P management systems using water quality vulnerability assessment tools for site-specific nutrient planning, and evaluate the effect of changing management strategies on risk assessment outcomes and potential N and P loss.
    • Compare soil, topography, geography and watershed characteristics on potential environmental N and P impacts; discuss the role of N and P, and past and present management practices on eutrophication; and discuss the role of N in drinking water standards.
    • Interpret the roles of the various agencies, guiding documents, policies associated with creating a Nutrient Management Plan according to the NRCS 590 Nutrient Management Conservation Practice Standard, and 303(d) TMDL requirements if in an affected watershed;
    • Create a customized 4Rs plan to fit the unique environmental and management features on a client’s farm, and discuss the components such as record-keeping, monitoring, and maintaining correct maps with all involved parties.
    • Identify management changes that might require adjustments to the Nutrient Management Plan and the potential effect of TMDL on the Nutrient Management Plan in affected watersheds.
  • 4R CCA Nutrient Management Specialist Study Guide by the International Plant Nutrition Institute