While the State of Vermont and the US Environmental Protection Agency are working to agree on a plan to clean up Lake Champlain, they are also expanding efforts to help small farms address water quality concerns in cooperation with Vermont’s fourteen Natural Resources Conservation Districts.
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, the Department of Environmental Conservation of the Agency of Natural Resources and USEPA provided a 21-month, $673,271 grant to the Vermont Association of Conservation Districts to help small farms install agricultural water quality best management practices that will protect the State’s waters and support the working landscape.
The grant enables conservation district staff throughout the state to reach out to small farmers regarding Vermont’s Accepted Agricultural Practices – the state’s agricultural water quality regulations – and help them identify and resolve water quality concerns on the farm. These technical advisors provide information, assess water quality concerns, and help farmers secure funding to implement best management practices aimed at reducing runoff and contamination of the state’s waters. The improvements not only protect water quality, but help farmers improve operations, protect animal health, and enhance farm viability. These on-farm improvements include fencing to exclude animals from streams and rivers, construction of stream crossings and animal laneways, improved drainage systems to manage runoff from barns and manure stack pads, and alternative watering systems.
For examples of best management practices, see the VACD-produced film entitled Small Farms Making a Difference: Water Quality Improvement Success Stories, in which small farm owners showcase the steps they are taking to lessen the impact of agricultural operations on water quality here.
For more information contact:
Jeff Farber, Technical Programs Manager