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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 6 : Agriculture

Chapter 215 : AGRICULTURAL WATER QUALITY

Subchapter 002 : Water Quality; Required Agricultural Practices and Best Management Practices

(Cite as: 6 V.S.A. § 4810a)
  • § 4810a. Required agricultural practices; revision

    (a) The Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets shall maintain the required agricultural practices in order to improve water quality in the State, assure practices on all farms eliminate adverse impacts to water quality, and implement the small farm certification program required by section 4871 of this title. At a minimum, the required agricultural practices shall:

    (1) Specify those farms that:

    (A) are required to comply with the small farm certification requirements under section 4871 of this title due to the potential impact of the farm or type of farm on water quality as a result of livestock managed on the farm, agricultural inputs used by the farm, or tillage practices on the farm; and

    (B) shall be subject to the required agricultural practices, but shall not be required to comply with small farm certification requirements under section 4871 of this title.

    (2)(A) Except as authorized under subdivision (C) of this subdivision (2), prohibit a farm from stacking or piling manure, storing fertilizer, or storing other nutrients on the farm:

    (i) in a manner and location that presents a threat of discharge to a water of the State or presents a threat of contamination to groundwater; or

    (ii) on lands in a floodway or otherwise subject to annual flooding.

    (B) Except as authorized under subdivision (C) of this subdivision (2), manure stacking or piling sites, fertilizer storage, or other nutrient storage shall not be located within 200 feet of a private well or within 200 feet of a water of the State.

    (C) The Secretary may authorize one or more of the following:

    (i) siting of manure stacking or piling sites, fertilizer storage, or other nutrient storage within 200 feet, but not less than 100 feet, of a private well or surface water if the Secretary determines that the site is the best available site on the farm for the purposes of protecting groundwater quality or surface water quality; and

    (ii) siting of a waste storage facility within 200 feet of a surface water or private well if the site is the best available site on the farm for the purposes of protecting groundwater quality or surface water quality and the waste storage facility is designed by a licensed engineer to meet the requirements of section 4815 of this title.

    (3) Require the construction and management of barnyards, waste management systems, animal holding areas, and production areas in a manner to prevent runoff of waste to a surface water, to groundwater, or across property boundaries.

    (4) Establish standards for nutrient management on farms, including:

    (A) required nutrient management planning on all farms that manage agricultural wastes; and

    (B) recommended practices for improving and maintaining soil quality and healthy soils in order to increase the capacity of soil to retain water, improve flood resiliency, reduce sedimentation, reduce reliance on fertilizers and pesticides, and prevent agricultural stormwater runoff.

    (5) Require cropland on the farm to be cultivated in a manner that results in an average soil loss of less than or equal to the soil loss tolerance for the prevalent soil, known as 1T, as calculated through application of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation, or through the application of similarly accepted models.

    (6)(A) Require a farm to comply with standards established by the Secretary for maintaining a vegetative buffer zone of perennial vegetation between annual croplands and the top of the bank of an adjoining water of the State. At a minimum the vegetative buffer standards established by the Secretary shall prohibit the application of manure on the farm within 25 feet of the top of the bank of an adjoining water of the State or within 10 feet of a ditch that is not a surface water under State law and that is not a water of the United States under federal law.

    (B) Establish standards for site-specific vegetative buffers that adequately address water quality needs based on consideration of soil type, slope, crop type, proximity to water, and other relevant factors.

    (7) [Repealed.]

    (8) Regulate, in a manner consistent with the Agency of Natural Resources' flood hazard area and river corridor rules, the construction or siting of a farm structure or the storage of manure, fertilizer, or pesticides within a river corridor designated by the Secretary of Natural Resources.

    (9) Establish standards for the exclusion of livestock from the waters of the State to prevent erosion and adverse water quality impacts.

    (10) Establish standards for soil conservation practices such as cover cropping.

    (11) Allow for alternative techniques or practices, approved by the Secretary, for compliance by an owner or operator of a farm when the owner or operator cannot comply with the requirements of the required agricultural practices due to site-specific conditions. Approved alternative techniques or practices shall meet State requirements to reduce adverse impacts to water quality.

    (b) The Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets shall maintain the required agricultural practices in order to include requirements for reducing nutrient contribution to waters of the State from subsurface tile drainage. Upon adoption of requirements for subsurface tile drainage, the Secretary may require an existing subsurface tile drain to comply with the requirements of the RAPs for subsurface tile drainage upon a determination that compliance is necessary to reduce adverse impacts to water quality from the subsurface tile drain.

    (c) The Secretary shall amend the required agricultural practices to include requirements for activities occurring in areas that are excluded from regulation by the Agency of Natural Resources under 10 V.S.A. § 902 because the area is used to grow food or crops in connection with farming activities. (Added 2015, No. 64, § 4; amended 2015, No. 105 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 12, 2016; 2017, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 36; 2019, No. 64, § 6.)