FWA Says Goodbye to Founder and Long-Time Chair

The Farmer’s Watershed Alliance of Franklin and Grand Isle Counties would like to express our sincere appreciation to Roger Rainville; our Founder and Chair.  His vision of getting farmers together and working on water quality issues, first came together in 2006.  Since then the FWA has courageously worked toward finding productive common
senses solutions for farmers.  Roger has worked with NRCS, Dept. of Agriculture, legislative parties, and many local water quality groups; to educate them about farming and the abilities of the agricultural community to assist in solving on farm issues.  Roger’s countless hours and hard work can be seen through the accomplishments of the FWA.  At this time Roger has decided to leave the FWA to pursue other passions.  We wish him all the best!

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Vermont dairy farmers will once again have an opportunity to purchase federal insurance which protects the gross margin between low milk and high feed prices through the USDA’s Livestock Gross Margin for dairy cattle program.  UVM Extension’s agricultural economist, Bob Parsons, said that Vermont dairy farmers took full advantage of the program during prior sales periods, insuring over 6.8 million pounds of milk.  With feed prices at record highs, this insurance can help pay the bills and cover living expenses, says Parsons.

Due to higher than expected nationwide interest last fall, all the remaining funds for the program were committed.  However, an additional $2.5 million has been made available nationally by the USDA.

The sales period will open this Friday, August 31, and it is expected that the demand will quickly exceed the funds.  Farmers interested in purchasing Livestock Gross Margin insurance for dairy cattle should contact a crop insurance agent immediately.   For more information, call UVM Extension at 802-349-2966.

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Composting Animal Mortalities on Farm Video

Funding is available to assist with the installation of an on-farm animal mortality composting facility.  Contact the Farmer’s Watershed Alliance for more information.

Got questions on how it’s done?  Click on the DVD below to watch the instructional video.

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Manure Spreading Ban Lifted

In a message circulated by Nathaniel Sands of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, an early end to the winter ban on spreading manure on Vermont farm fields was announced.

As a result of unusually warm and dry weather, lack of snow and projected weather forecast over the next few weeks the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets in agreement with the Agency of Natural Resources and Vermont Association of Conservation Districts is lifting the winter spreading ban that normally is in place until April 1st. According to Secretary Chuck Ross, “I am lifting the ban because I believe it will help farmers best manage their manure resources and is in the best interests of Vermont’s waterways.” David Mears, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation agreed stating “Current conditions are favorable for manure application. Taking advantage of good weather now may prevent application of manure later when conditions may not be as good.”
The manure spreading ban is a regulation that has been in place since 1995 under the Accepted Agricultural Practice rules. Vermont was a leading state in developing such a ban, however in recent years several other states have been considering or adopting the idea. Research has shown that manure applications on frozen ground can increase the runoff potential. Vermont chose to select a ban period from December 15th to April 1st each year to protect water quality; however the Agency has discretion with those dates to accommodate these exact types of circumstances.
Farmers are reminded that Vermont’s Accepted Agricultural Practices Rules and medium and large farm permit requirements apply as appropriate including:

  •  Manure shall not be spread within 10 feet of the top of the bank of surface waters or within 25 feet at points of concentrated runoff on small farm operations
  •  Medium and Large farms shall not spread manure within 25 feet of the top of the bank of surface waters
  •  Manure shall not be applied in such a manner as to enter surface water
  •  Manure applied to land subject to annual overflow from adjacent waters shall be incorporated within 48 hours
  • The Agency also highly recommends that the following practices be observed while the spreading ban is lifted:
  •  Avoid spreading manure during or just before rain events. Remember that manure cannot be spread in such a way as to run off the intended site during application.
  •  Where appropriate, incorporate manure as quickly as possible.
  •  Avoid spreading manure on fields that are subject to annual overflow from adjacent surface waters. Manure spread on annual crop land that is subject to annual overflow from adjacent surface waters shall be incorporated within 48 hours.
  •  Consider using split manure applications and reduced manure application rates.
  •  Do not apply to land that is still snow-covered or frozen.
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Mission of the Farmers’ Watershed Alliance

Our Mission Statement

The Franklin and Grand Isle Farmer’s Watershed Alliance mission is to insure environmentally positive solutions and enable the dairy industry through education and funding to better the soil, air, and water of the Lake Champlain Watershed while remaining economically viable. Secondly, to promote and defend dairy farming to further it’s future as one of the largest contributors to the state’s economy.

Goals of the Farmer’s Watershed:

  • Provide farmers with a support network
  • Help farmers understand environmental regulations
  • Provide farmers with non-regulatory technical
  • Provide farmers with whole farm assessments
  • Help farmers develop nutrient management plans
  • Provide farmers with whole farm assessments
  • Stay connected to actions in the legislature
  • Provide the public with a positive image of agriculture and it’s influence on the environment
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