Divided Oversight Hampers Enforcement in Major Vermont Farm Pollution Case

A photo of a verbal waiver for manure spreading that was issued by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets’ Water Quality Division. Photo courtesy of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets.

Eight months ago, an Addison County, Vermont farm spread excess liquid manure overtop its snow-covered fields. Since then, two Vermont state agencies, the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) and the Agency of Natural Resources (VT ANR), Department of Environmental Conservation (VT DEC), have failed to penalize the farm for this violation. While the farm was issued a manure spreading exemption by VAAFM stating, “You are authorized to land apply up to 5 days’ worth of manure generation at a rate not to exceed 5,000 gallons per acre,” it violated the exemption by spreading more manure than was allowed. The manure ran off the farm fields, into a nearby stream, which empties into Lake Champlain. A “memorandum of understanding” splits legal authority between the two state agencies: VAAFM regulates farm activities, such as manure spreading and VT DEC, within VT ANR, intercedes when farm waste directly enters waterways. LCC is a longtime advocate for VT ANR to have regulatory authority on issues of water quality. 

Click here to read the full article on the Vermont Public Radio website.