Vermont Updating Agricultural Policies

New regulations coming for Vermont farms. Photo by Lori Fisher.

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture and Farm Markets (VAAFM) has released draft required agricultural practices (RAPs). The draft is driven by water quality legislation passed last spring in response to advocacy from LCC and others that agricultural controls needed to be strengthened. The RAPs will modify and replace accepted agricultural practices which were first put in place in 1995 and updated in 2006. The legislature decided that they needed to be clearer that the practices outlined in accepted agricultural practices were mandatory and applied to all farms. The RAPs regulate certification and definition of small farms, nutrient management in fields, buffer zones along streams and ditches, livestock access to waterways, manure storage and application, allowable soil erosion levels, disposal of animal carcasses, and certification of custom manure applicators. VAAFM is seeking comments on the draft regulations and they are holding a series of public meetings throughout the state from mid-November through December 10, 2015 to solicit input. Click here for a downloadable PDF of current draft RAPs