University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

UVM Extension Specialists Work With Farmers to Reduce Pollution

Nutrient Management Planning implementation prevents over 2,000 tons of pollutants

no till drill device maintenance
Preparing a no-till drill which will seed a field directly through the residue of a previous crop without tilling the soil. (Kirsten Workman/UVM Extension)

Agricultural nutrient management planning (NMP) and actual implementation of the plan prevents water pollution. Cost, time and lack of knowledge about a new practice can be barriers to adoption of NMP once developed.  Educational outreach - including working directly with individual farmers - is very effective in helping farms implement NMPs.

One faculty member has increased outreach programming by hiring a team with funding from USDA-NRCS, Vt. Agency of Natural Resources and Vt. Agency of Agriculture as well as additional funding specifically for Livestock fencing and no-till planting of crops to promote conservation practices with farmers. The team is working with farmers one-on-one, in classroom settings and via printed news releases and electronic mailings.  Over 150 farmers attended workshops to update their farm nutrient plans or to develop pasture and crop management plans for this year.

The team worked with 130 farms in 2012, implementing conservation practices on 23,000 acres, and preventing almost 2,000 tons of soil and 54 tons of fertilizer from becoming a pollutant.  

Accomplishments include:

  • Five miles of fence to exclude livestock from streams by investing $96,000 of incentive payments resulting in 830 tons of soil saved. 
  • 11,000 acres reduced phosphorous loss by as much as 30% by using aerator machines in manure application.
  • 1,200 acres were planted with cover crops conserving approximately 36,000 pounds of nitrogen, 12,000 pounds of phosphorous and 60,000 pounds of potassium as well as preventing almost 1,000 tons of soil erosion.

With a skilled, energetic team of Extension professionals to support them, farmers continue to contribute to a vibrant Vermont economy while being good land stewards and protecting our water.

Contact: Jeff Carter, Agronomy Specialist - Field Crops & Nutrient Management, 802-388-4969,