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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 6 : Agriculture

Chapter 215 : AGRICULTURAL WATER QUALITY

Subchapter 005 : Regulation of Medium and Small Farm Operations

(Cite as: 6 V.S.A. § 4858)
  • § 4858. Medium farm operation permits

    (a) Authorization to operation. No person shall operate a medium farm without authorization from the Secretary pursuant to this section. Under exceptional conditions, specified in subsection (d) of this section, authorization from the Secretary may be required to operate a small farm.

    (b) Rules; general and individual permits. The Secretary shall establish by rule, pursuant to 3 V.S.A. chapter 25, requirements for a "general permit" and "individual permit" to assure that medium and small farms generating animal waste comply with the water quality standards of the State.

    (1) "General" and "individual" permits issued under this section shall be consistent with rules adopted under this section, shall include terms and conditions appropriate to each farm size category and each farm animal type as defined by section 4857 of this title and shall meet standards at least as stringent as those established by federal regulations for concentrated animal feeding operations. Such standards shall address waste management, waste storage, development of nutrient management plans, carcass disposal, and surface water and groundwater contamination, plus recordkeeping, reporting, and monitoring provisions regarding such matters to ensure that the terms and conditions of the permit are being met. The groundwater contamination rules adopted by the Secretary under this section shall include a process under which the Agency shall receive, investigate, and respond to a complaint that a farm has contaminated the drinking water or groundwater of a property owner.

    (2) The rules adopted under this section shall also address permit administration, public notice and hearing, permit enforcement, permit transition, revocation, and appeals consistent with provisions of sections 4859 and 4861 of this title and subchapter 10 of this chapter.

    (3) Each general permit issued pursuant to this section shall have a term of no more than five years. Prior to the expiration of each general permit, the Secretary shall review the terms and conditions of the general permit and may issue subsequent general permits with the same or different conditions as necessary to carry out the purposes of this subchapter. Each general permit shall include provisions that require public notice of the fact that a medium farm has sought coverage under a general permit adopted pursuant to this section. Each general permit shall provide a process by which interested persons can obtain detailed information about the nature and extent of the activity proposed to receive coverage under the general permit. The Secretary may inspect each farm seeking coverage under the general permit at any time, but no less frequently than once every three years.

    (c)(1) Medium farm general permit. The owner or operator of a medium farm seeking coverage under a general permit adopted pursuant to this section shall certify to the Secretary within a period specified in the permit, and in a manner specified by the Secretary, that the medium farm does comply with permit requirements regarding an adequately sized and designed manure management system to accommodate the wastes generated and a nutrient management plan to dispose of wastes in accordance with required agricultural practices adopted under this chapter and current U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrient management standards. Any certification or notice of intent to comply submitted under this subdivision shall be kept on file at the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. The Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets, in consultation with the Secretary of Natural Resources, shall review any certification or notice of intent to comply submitted under this subdivision with regard to the water quality impacts of the medium farm for which the owner or operator is seeking coverage, and, within 18 months of receiving the certification or notice of intent to comply, shall verify whether the owner or operator of the medium farm has established that there will be no unpermitted discharge to waters of the State pursuant to the federal regulations for concentrated animal feeding operations. If upon review of a medium farm granted coverage under the general permit adopted pursuant to this subsection, the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets determines that the permit applicant may be discharging to waters of the State, the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets and the Secretary of Natural Resources shall respond to the discharge in accordance with the memorandum of understanding regarding concentrated animal feeding operations under section 4810 of this title.

    (2) The owner or operator of a small farm may seek coverage under the medium farm general permit adopted pursuant to this section by certifying to the Secretary, in a manner specified by the Secretary, that the small farm complies with the requirements and conditions of the medium farm general permit.

    (d) Medium and small farms; individual permit. The Secretary may require the owner or operator of a small or medium farm to obtain an individual permit to operate after review of the farm's history of compliance, application of required agricultural practices, the use of an experimental or alternative technology or method to meet a State performance standard, or other factors set forth by rule. The owner or operator of a small farm may apply to the Secretary for an individual permit to operate under this section. To receive an individual permit, an applicant shall in a manner prescribed by rule demonstrate that the farm has an adequately sized and designed manure management system to accommodate the wastes generated and a nutrient management plan to dispose of wastes in accordance with required agricultural practices adopted under this chapter and current U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrient management standards, including setback requirements for waste application. An individual permit shall be valid for no more than five years. Any application for an individual permit filed under this subsection shall be kept on file at the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. The Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets, in consultation with the Agency of Natural Resources, shall review any application for a permit under this subsection and, prior to issuance of an individual permit under this subsection, shall issue a written determination regarding whether the permit applicant has established that there will be no unpermitted discharge to waters of the State pursuant to federal regulations for concentrated animal feeding operations. If, upon review of an application for a permit under this subsection, the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets that the permit applicant may be discharging to waters of the State, the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets and the Secretary of Natural Resources shall respond to the discharge in accordance with the memorandum of understanding regarding concentrated animal feeding operations under subsection 4810(b) of this title. The Secretary of Natural Resources may require a medium or small farm to obtain a permit under 10 V.S.A. § 1263 pursuant to federal regulations for concentrated animal feeding operations. Coverage of a medium farm under a general permit adopted pursuant to this section or an individual permit issued to a medium or small farm under this section is rendered void by the issuance of a permit to a farm under 10 V.S.A. § 1263.

    (e) Operating fee. A person required to obtain a permit or coverage under this section shall submit an annual operating fee of $1,500.00 to the Secretary. The fees collected under this section shall be deposited in the Agricultural Water Quality Special Fund under section 4803 of this title. (Added 2003, No. 149 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. June 3, 2004; amended 2005, No. 78, § 11, eff. June 24, 2005; 2015, No. 39, § 14; 2015, No. 64, § 7; 2017, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 37.)