Jeff Korhan: Government regulations

Columns - Industry Voices

Every month, our columnists give their take on a common topic. Last month they revisited predictions they made earlier this year. This month they give insight into how government regulations are affecting the green industry.

July 25, 2011
Jeff Korhan

Regulations are one of those aspects of business that seldom concern us until we personally feel their impact. This is why it is essential that you freely share your expertise with the leaders and influencers in the communities you serve.

In late April, the Maryland legislature passed SB 487 and HB 573 into law to address the impact of fertilizers on the Chesapeake Bay. A key element of the legislation is to protect the Bay from the incorrect application of fertilizers that could adversely affect the natural balance.

The logical and reasonable approach for accomplishing this is to reduce the amount of nitrogen that can be applied to properties in the area – both on a per-application and-annual basis. This works in theory if all products and application methods are uniform, which they aren’t.

Prior to the passing of the new legislation, Ken Mays, president of Baltimore-based Scientific Plant Service was using a product that allowed him to use 35 percent less nitrogen per year. However, it is applied in as few as one annual application, which would have precluded it from being used under the new regulations – even though it was technically environmentally friendly.

Along with other green industry leaders, Ken reached out to the Chesapeake Bay Commission to educate them about Polyon. Made by Agrium Advanced Technologies, the fertilizer is designed specifically for situations that the Maryland legislature was addressing.  Polyon’s proprietary technology releases nitrogen in a controlled release fashion that is not affected by moisture – clearly a benefit for sites in proximity to wetlands.

As a result of this effort, an exemption for products like Polyon was written into the legislation – specifically identifying them as “enhanced efficiency fertilizers.” SPS can now continue their usual best practices – respecting the environment, while also maximizing profits by minimizing the number of applications necessary for treating their properties.

Decisions are being made every day by legislators, and those decisions are only as good as the information they have available to them. While they are charged with protecting your best interests, they can only do their job well if they are adequately informed about our industry and your business practices.

Jeff Korhan is a speaker, consultant and top-ranked blogger on new media and small business marketing at; mail