by Liz Gleason, Vermont Housing & Conservation Board
The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, a program of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, has grant funds available for on-farm capital improvement projects that have a positive impact on water quality. Eligible farmers can apply for a Water Quality Grant, which provides $5,000 to $40,000 in funding. Applications are due by January 27, 2023. Viability staff are hosting a virtual information session to answer questions on Tuesday, January 10 from 10am-12pm.
More information, eligibility requirements, applications, and information to join the information sessions are available on the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program Website at: https://vhcb.org/WQG.
Water Quality Grants help farmers make capital improvements that reduce non-point source pollution through projects that improve manure and nutrient management. These projects aim to advance Vermont’s water quality goals and also support the long-term success of farm enterprises. Construction, renovation, infrastructure, and in some cases, equipment projects are eligible. The grants assist with the costs of improvements required to comply with regulations and are designed to complement existing federal & state programs.
These grants are funded by the State of Vermont with Federal American Rescue Plan Act Funds.
When Jon & Jeff Audy took over their family farm in New Haven, they pivoted the business from dairy to cropping. At first, they were limited in their planting equipment and had to either use older retrofitted equipment or hire out. With a $39,500 VHCB Water Quality Grant supplemented by funds from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, & Markets’ CEAP grant, the Audy’s were able to purchase a no-till planter. Now able to do their own planting, they’ve expanded their no-till practices to 200 additional acres. The new planter has saved time, increased yields, and cultivated healthier soils in the Champlain Valley.
“The new equipment provides a lot of flexibility for us and it’s enabling us to meet our goals. The grant application process was convenient and a great opportunity -- we know that no-till practices are good for the soil once you learn how to do it. We know it’s the right thing to for our land and the business, [and] we’ve seen the benefits” says Jeff Audy.
For questions regarding this grant opportunity, please contact: Betsy McGavisk by email to Betsy@VHCB.org or by calling 802-828-5562.