Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Downloadable Documents & Helpful Links


Introduction to BMPs

The Best Management Practice (BMP) program is a voluntary program to assist farmers with on-farm improvements designed to abate non-point source agricultural waste discharges into the waters of the state of Vermont.  The program was created to provide state technical and financial assistance to Vermont farmers.  Free Technical assistance which includes a combination of Agricultural, Civil, and Environmental Engineering and design through the BMP program is available to help farms meet their regulatory requirements and/or to solve a resource concern.  Financial Assistance is available to help assist the farmer with the construction costs of the designed practice(s). 


Technical Assistance

Technical assistance which includes a combination of Agricultural, Civil, and Environmental Engineering and design is available free of charge to help the farmer:

  • Protect and improve water quality
  • Maintain and improve lands and their management
  • Improve productivity of lands through planning
  • Identify and solve water quality concerns
  • Develop and apply sustainable agricultural practices.

There are various programs and specialized staff that work at or in conjunction with the Agency of Agriculture to ensure that technical assistance needs are being met for farms across the state regardless of size or location.

Examples of conservation practices where Technical Assistance may be available:

  • Manure storage
  • Composting stack pad
  • Barnyard runoff collection
  • Gutter / ditch clean water diversion
  • Laneway development & stream crossings
  • Exclusion fencing & watering facilities
  • Milk house waste collection & treatment
  • Silage leachate collection & treatment

Other Technical Assistance Providers:

Financial Assistance

All applications are evaluated by the Agency's BMP Cost Share Program according to the funding priorities established in statute and the BMP Rules.

  • BMP projects are only eligible for State cost share dollars if the they meet the design standards and specifications established by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or are designed and certified by a professional engineer licensed in the State of Vermont and are equivalent to the federal performance standards and specifications.
  • Applying does not ensure an award.
  • Grant agreements must be in place prior to the start of construction.
  • Farmer receives reimbursement upon certified project completion.
  • Final payment is determined by actual project costs as documented by itemized invoices.
  • Farmer’s equipment and labor costs are eligible for reimbursement.
BMP State Financial Assistance

Non-production area conservation practices are eligible to receive 50% to 75% cost share in high priority areas. Production area and livestock exclusion practices are eligible to receive 85% to 90% cost share in high priority areas. The State's BMP program maximum cost share in a calendar year is $75,000 per farm, not to exceed $150,000 in a 3 year timeframe.

NRCS EQIP - State BMP Financial Assist

The BMP program can be coupled with the USDA NRCS program to increase funding on approved conservation practices. The combined state and federal cost share can cover up to 90% of total project costs. The state's BMP program cost-share is limited to a maximum of $200,000 per EQIP contract. The State's BMP program cost share cannot exceed the federal contribution per conservation practice.