Vt. Agriculture Agency Leaders Update Lawmakers on Clean Water Mission

On Friday, January 19, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets Secretary Anson Tebbetts and Water Quality Division Director Laura DiPietro joined other state leaders to testify about the state’s planning and implementation of clean water projects.

In a joint hearing with the Senate Agriculture Committee and Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee, Secretary Tebbetts outlined the work being done on Vermont farms.

“A closer look at Vermont farms shows how cutting –edge technology is increasingly becoming the new norm,” said Sec. Tebbetts. “From state-of-the art waste management systems to cover crops that keep agriculture fields growing biomass year-round preventing soil from eroding, Vermont agriculture is evolving once again.”

Sec. Tebbetts proceeded to show how the Agency is helping Vermont farmers make these improvements with the implementation of programs such as, Best Management Practices (BMPs), Ag-Clean Water Initiative Program (Ag-CWIP) and Farm Agronomic Practices (FAPs), to help farmers comply with new rules.

(Senate Agriculture Committee and Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee watch video testimony about Vermont’s water quality programs.)

Sec. Tebbetts also described how the Agency jointly enforces water quality regulations.

“Farmers who knowingly do not comply with laws face action: in 2017 farmers received 93 enforcement actions from the Agency, a 145% increase over 2016.  This increase is due to more boots on the ground inspecting.”

DiPietro described the VAAFM’s Water Quality Division’s strategic plan going forward; to maintain the programs recently built, provide innovative strategies, be ready to ramp up efforts and increase outreach and education to the public.

“We have the opportunity to change things and think outside the box.  The same of policies are good, but we need more and that is our goal,” said DiPietro.

 

You can watch the “Quality in Water and Farming” videos presented in the hearing below:

 

 

VAAFM Water Quality Division Plan