The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 005A : Small Farm Certification(Cite as: 6 V.S.A. § 4871)
§ 4871. Small farm certification
(a) Small farm definition. As used in this section, "small farm" means a parcel or parcels of land:
(1) on which 10 or more acres are used for farming;
(2) that house no more than the number of animals specified under section 4857 of this title; and
(3)(A) that house at least the number of mature animals that the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets designates by rule under the required agricultural practices; or
(B) that are used for the preparation, tilling, fertilization, planting, protection, irrigation, and harvesting of crops for sale.
(b) Required small farm certification. Beginning on July 1, 2017, a person who owns or operates a small farm, as designated by the Secretary consistent with subdivision 4810a(a)(1) of this title, shall, on a form provided by the Secretary, certify compliance with the required agricultural practices. The Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets shall establish the requirements and manner of certification of compliance with the required agricultural practices, provided that the Secretary shall require an owner or operator of a farm to submit an annual certification of compliance with the required agricultural practices.
(c) Certification due to water quality threat. The Secretary may require any person who owns or operates a farm to submit a small farm certification under this section if the person is not required to obtain a permit or submit a certification under this chapter and the Secretary determines that the farm poses a threat of discharge to a water of the State or presents a threat of contamination to groundwater. The Secretary may waive a small farm certification required under this subsection upon a determination that the farm no longer poses a threat of discharge to a water of the State or no longer presents a threat of contamination to groundwater.
(d) Rulemaking; small farm certification. The Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets shall maintain by rule requirements for a small farm certification of compliance with the Required Agricultural Practices. The rules required by this subsection shall be adopted as part of the Required Agricultural Practices under section 4810 of this title.
(e) Small farm inspection. The Secretary may inspect a small farm in the State at any time for the purposes of assessing compliance by the small farm with the required agricultural practices and determining consistency with a certification of compliance submitted by the person who owns or operates the small farm. The Secretary may prioritize inspections of small farms in the State based on identified water quality issues posed by a small farm. The Secretary shall adopt by rule, as part of the required agricultural practices, the required frequency of inspection of small farms.
(f) Notice of change of ownership or change of lease. A person who owns or leases a small farm shall notify the Secretary of a change of ownership or change of lessee of a small farm within 30 days of the change. The notification shall include the certification of small farm compliance required under subsection (a) of this section.
(g)(1) Identification; ranking of water quality needs. During an inspection of a small farm under this section, the Secretary shall identify areas where the farm could benefit from capital, structural, or technical assistance in order to improve or come into compliance with the required agricultural practices and any applicable State water quality permit or certification required under this chapter.
(2) Notwithstanding the priority system established under section 4823 of this title, the Secretary annually shall establish a priority ranking system for small farms according to the water quality benefit associated with the capital, structural, or technical improvements identified as needed by the Secretary during an inspection of the farm.
(3) Notwithstanding the priority system established by subdivision (2) of this subsection, the Secretary may provide financial assistance to a small farm at any time, regardless of the priority ranking system, if the Secretary determines that the farm needs assistance to address a water quality issue that requires immediate abatement. (Added 2015, No. 64, § 3; amended 2015, No. 105 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 12, 2016; 2019, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 14.)