When applying for a nutrient management permit during an expansion project, most producers don’t know what to expect ahead of time.

Dairy producer Tim Wickstrom, of Hilmar, Calif., has gone through the process. He shared the following thoughts recently at the Western Dairy Management Conference:

1. Be prepared to make changes. Even if your plan is well-conceived, the regulatory staff will probably request changes.

2. Be prepared to work along side, communicate with, and even educate the regulatory staff.

3. Expect lawsuits and set aside a budget for them.

4. Gather information on nutrient values, soil composition, and other data needed for the permit that is specific to your farm. Avoid using book values.

5. Expect opposing opinions, even from fellow dairy producers.