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Certified Small Farm Operations (CSFO)

Annual Certification

New CSFOs should review the RAPs before completing and submitting certification form to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets.

NEW for 2024! The CSFO annual certification form has been updated and there is a new, more user-friendly platform for submitting the form online. Please contact Brittany Cole at 802-522-7413 or if you need help or have questions.

Submit the CSFO Annual Certification form online here!

Print the CSFO Annual Certification form here!


Table of Contents

CSFO Inspection Video



As part of Act 64, the Vermont Clean Water Act signed into law June of 2015, Certified Small Farm Operations above a particular farm size are required to annually self-certify their operation. Farms that meet the definition of a Small Farm Operation (SFO) rather than a Certified Small Farm Operation (CSFO) must still comply with the RAPs. The goal of this program is to support farmers to ensure their clear understanding of the statewide agricultural management rules the Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs), while providing assistance to assess, plan and implement any necessary conservation and management practices that might be necessary to meet water quality goals.

As part of the certification process, operators of Certified Small Farm Operation (CSFO) will;

CSFO Definition

Farms who will annually certify as a CSFO include farms:

  • Growing more than 50 acres of annual cropland (e.g. corn, sweet corn, soybean, or pumpkin), OR
  • Growing more than 50 acres of vegetables, OR
  • That house and manage at least the following animal numbers;
    • 50-199 mature dairy cows (200-699 is a Medium Farm Operation, and 699+ is a Large Farm Operation)
    • 75-299 youngstock or heifers
    • 75-299 veal calves
    • 75-299 cattle or cow/calf pairs
    • 188-749 swine weighing over 55 pounds
    • 750-2,999 swine weighing less than 55 pounds
    • 40-149 equines
    • 750-2,999 sheep or goats
    • 4,125-16,499 turkeys
    • 2,250-8,999 laying hens or broilers or 375-1,499 ducks (w/ liquid manure system)
    • 6,250-24,499 laying hens or broilers or 2,500-9,999 ducks (without a liquid manure system)
    • A combination of animals with total live weight exceeding 90,000 pounds

Do I need to Certify? 

If you are not required to certify as a CSFO, but meet the definition of an SFO, please be aware that you are still required to comply with the RAPs. 

Required Agricultural Practices

The Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs) are a set of practices and management strategies to which all farms must be managed to reduce the impact of agricultural activities to water quality.

These standards are intended to improve the quality of all Vermont’s waters by reducing and eliminating erosion, sediment losses, and nutrient losses through improved farm management techniques, technical and compliance assistance, and where appropriate, enforcement. The RAPs establish nutrient, manure, and waste storage standards, make recommendations for soil health, and establish requirements for vegetated buffer zones and livestock exclusion from surface water. In addition, the RAPs establish nutrient management planning standards, and standards for soil conservation.

Under the RAPs, CSFOs are required to:


Statewide Permitting and Nutrient Management Staff

Regional Farm Coordinator Contact Information

Additional Resources

Are you concerned about implementing the RAPs, looking for technical or financial assistance, or interested in applying for a cost-share program? Here are some resources for you both within and outside of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. 

Financial and Technical Assistance Programs

Worried about low milk prices? Learn about UVM's Farm Viability Program

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