Agronomy Conservation Program Continues To Assist Farmers in Lake Champlain Watershed
- By Jeffrey Carter
Middlebury—A renewed grant from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation will enable the University of Vermont (UVM) Extension offices in Middlebury and St. Albans to provide on-going support for local farmers through the Lake Champlain Agronomy and Conservation Assistance Program (ACAP II) for another year.
Agronomists will work one-on-one with farmers to help them implement farm conservation practices including new crop production methods with cover crops, reduced tillage and improved manure handling to reduce soil and phosphorus runoff into Lake Champlain and its tributaries.
Farmers in the entire Lake Champlain basin watershed, which includes the Missisquoi, Lamoille, Winooski and Otter Creek watershed areas, can request additional one-on-one assistance with adopting new farm practices.
Funding from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission was secured in FY-2010 through the efforts of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy to be used by the Lake Champlain Basin Program to support this program. Priority is given to farms that are not subject to permitting under the state medium- or large-farm operation programs.
Two UVM agronomists, Rico Balzano and Jeff Sanders, work with farmers to identify and implement prioritized practices to reduce soil and nutrient runoff from agricultural lands and livestock production areas. They coordinate and share activities with a similar ACAP II agronomy outreach professional position at the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District at the southern reaches of Lake Champlain.
The assigned agronomy outreach staff coordinate with UVM faculty Heather Darby and Jeff Carter to identify high-priority projects for farms to implement to meet water quality goals outlined by current plans to reduce phosphorus loading in Lake Champlain. Farmer participation is encouraged.
For more information, contact Jeff Carter, UVM Extension Agronomist, at (802) 388-4969, ext. 332, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For direct assistance in St. Albans, contact Jeff Sanders at (802) 524-6501 ext. 453, or in Middlebury contact Rico Balzano at (802) 388-4969 ext. 338.