Farm Agronomic Practices (FAPs)


Downloadable Documents & Helpful Links


Introduction to FAPs

The Farm Agronomic Practices (FAP) Program utilizes state funding to help Vermont farms implement soil-based agronomic practices that improve soil quality, increase crop production, and reduce erosion and agricultural waste discharges. The FAP program also provides education and instructional activity grants to support nutrient management planning and general outreach regarding the impacts of agricultural practices on water quality and current state agricultural water quality regulations.


Practice Definitions & Objectives 

  • Cover Cropping: The purpose of cover cropping is to establish a seasonal cover on annual cropland for soil erosion reduction and conservation purposes. Seasonal cover shall consist of a crop of close growing grasses, legumes, forbs, or other herbaceous plants to provide effective soil coverage. Cover crops should be planted as soon as possible after previous crop harvest. Cover crop establishment shall be timed so that the soil will be adequately protected during critical erosion periods and selected cover crops will have the physical characteristics necessary to provide adequate soil loss protection.
  • Conservation Crop Rotation and Nurse Crop Cover Cropping: The purpose of conservation crop rotation is to lower soil erosion and promote conservation by growing crops in a recurring sequence on the same field. Land is eligible for this practice at the time of seeding to perennial forages.
    • Nurse crops (e.g. oats) in perennial forages establish quickly to provide soil cover and reduce soil erosion.
  • Strip Cropping: Strip cropping is the management of row crops, forages, small grains, or fallow land in a systematic arrangement of equal width strips across a field for soil erosion reduction and conservation purposes.
  • Cross-Slope Tillage: Cross-slope tillage is a system of crop rows on planned grades in lengths designed to reduce soil erosion.
  • Conservation Tillage: The purpose of conservation tillage is to manage the amount of crop and plant residues on the soil surface and to limit soil disturbance to only practices necessary to place nutrients and plant crops.
    • No-till is a practice where the soil is left undisturbed from harvest to planting and crops are planted directly into the existing residue.
    • Zone-till is a practice where a strip no greater than ten inches wide is created in existing residue and the crop is planted within the strip.
    • Mulch till is a practice where a minimum of 30 percent of the soil surface is covered by plant residue immediately following planting of the crop.
    • Aeration tillage is a type of minimum tillage that is to be used in conjunction with conventional liquid manure application on perennial croplands.
    • Not eligible: Aeration followed by tanker spread liquid manure on annual cropland.
  • Alternative Manure Incorporation: The purpose of alternative manure incorporation is to encourage producers to apply liquid manure at close proximity to or below the soil surface and incorporate the manure into the soil simultaneously with a single implement.  Eligible alternative manure incorporation practices include:
    • Manure injection 
    • Aeration done at the same time as a low level splash plate manure application
    • Aeration prior to drag line low level splash plate manure application are eligible for this practice 
    • Not eligible: Aeration followed by tanker spread liquid manure 


  • See the FAP Factsheet for more information about eligible practices. 


Program Requirements & Deadlines

Follow the link below for a complete list of Farm Agronomic Practice requirements, payment schedule and deadlines.


Applications and Deadlines for Enrollment & Claims

  • Cover Cropping Application (pdf)

    • Winter Cover Cropping applications due by August 15  (See FAP Factsheet for eligibility requirements)
    • Claims for payment must be received by December 31
  • Crops and Tillage Practices Application (pdf)

    • Crops and Tillage applications must be submitted at least 1 month before implementation and will be processed on a first-come-first served basis
    • Practices implemented April 1 – June 30: claims for payment must be received by July 15
    • Practices implemented July 1 – December 15: claims for payment must be received by December 31
  • Educational and Instructional Activities Application (pdf)

    • Educational and Instructional Activities applications must be submitted at least 1 month before activity and will be processed on a first-come-first served basis
    • Activities cannot occur prior to application approval

*Funding rates may change based on program demand.