New Working Group Encourages Ecosystem Services
Initial Working Group meeting to be held in Waterbury on September 30, 2019
September 19, 2019 | Montpelier, VT. – Act 83 of 2019 directed the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets to convene a Soil Conservation Practice and Payment for Ecosystem Services Working Group. The purpose of this Working Group is to recommend financial incentives designed to encourage farmers in Vermont to implement agricultural practices that improve soil health, enhance crop resilience, increase carbon storage and stormwater storage capacity, and reduce agricultural runoff to waters.
The first meeting of the Working Group will be held on September 30, 2019 from 10am to 4pm at St. Leo’s Hall, 109 S. Main Street, Waterbury Vermont.
The Working Group is charged to address the following items and compile a report of recommendations due to the legislature on January 15, 2020:
(1) identify agricultural standards or practices that farmers can implement that improve soil health, enhance crop resilience, increase carbon storage and stormwater storage capacity, and reduce agricultural runoff to waters;
(2) recommend existing financial incentives available to farmers that could be modified or amended to incentivize implementation of the agricultural standards identified under subdivision (1) of this section or incentivize the reclamation or preservation of wetlands and floodplains;
(3) propose new financial incentives, including a source of revenue, for implementation of the agricultural standards identified under subdivision (1) of this section if existing financial incentives are inadequate or if the goal of implementation of the agricultural standards would be better served by a new financial incentive; and
(4) recommend legislative changes that may be required to implement any financial incentive recommended or proposed in the report.
The meetings of the Working Group are open to the public, and public comment will be welcomed for a defined period of time towards the close of regular meeting hours. Public comment can be submitted in writing at anytime to: AGR.WaterQuality@vermont.gov.
Informational materials and agendas for the meetings can be found at:https://agriculture.vermont.gov/pes
Membership of the working group, appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, includes the following individuals and organizations:
Alyson Eastman - Chair, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
Nancy Everhart - Vice Chair, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board
Jill Arace, Vermont Association of Conservation Districts
Cat Buxton, Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition
Paul Doton, Connecticut River Watershed Farmers Alliance
Vicky Drew, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service - Vermont
Eric Howe, Lake Champlain Basin Program
Brian Kemp, Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition
Maddie Kempner, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont
Taylor Ricketts, Gund Institute for Environment - The University of Vermont
Chuck Ross, University of Vermont Extension
Marli Rupe, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
Tyler Webb, Franklin and Grand Isle Farmer’s Watershed Alliance
Ryan Patch | VAAFM Water Quality Division
802-272-0323 | Ryan.Patch@Vermont.gov