Certified Small Farm Operations (CSFO)

ANNUAL CERTIFICATION FORMS ARE DUE JANUARY 31, 2019


Table of Contents


CSFO Inspection Video

 


Introduction

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 now 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 new 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;

  • Complete the 1-page CSFO certification form annually beginning July 1, 2017
  • Develop and implement a written Nutrient Management Plan,
  • Obtain 4 hours of approved water quality training every 5 years,
  • Be inspected by the Agency of Ag on at least a 7-year cycle
  • Comply with the standards set forth in the Required Agriculture Practices (RAPs).

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. 


Annual Certification

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

Annual Certification Form

Please don’t hesitate to reach out the SFO staff with questions or concerns. Eventually you will be given a farm coordinator who will provide technical assistance and regulatory guidance in addition to completing inspections once every seven years. In the meantime, CSFO operators should be developing and implementing a USDA NRCS 590 Nutrient Management Plan, and working to bring their facilities and lands into compliance with the RAPs. 

Print Annual Certification Form

 


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:

  • Complete the 1-page CSFO certification form annually beginning July 1, 2017
  • Develop and implement a Nutrient Management Plan,
  • Obtain 4 hours of approved water quality training every 5 years,
  • Be inspected by the Agency of AG on at least a 7-year cycle
  • Comply with the standards set forth in the Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs)

 



Map of Small Farm Coordinators

map of small farm coordinator territories and their phone numbers


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

Farm First provides free 24/7 confidential professional and personal support

 

Contact Information

Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

116 State Street
Montpelier, Vt 05620-2901
802.828.2430

Program Contacts

  • Media Inquiries                      802.622.4662
  • Licensing & Registration        802.828.2436
  • Business Development          802.828.1619
  • Feed, Seed, Fertilizer & Lime  802.828.2431
  • Working Lands                    802.622.4477
  • Public Health & Resource Management                802.828.2431
  • Laboratory               802.522.3502
  • Animal Health                        802.828.2421
  • Dairy                              802.828.2433
  • Consumer Protection / Weights & Measures                            802.828.2433
  • Meat Inspection                    802.828.2426
  • Water Quality                               802.828.2431
    • Farmer Assistance                    802.622.4098
    • Enforcement                                802.828.2431
    • Reports                                      802.272.0323
    • BMP's                                      802.828.3474
  • Act 250                          802.828.2431 
  • Pesticide                        802.828.2431