University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

Water Quality & Agriculture in Vermont:
Resources for Farmers, Land-Owners, and Agricultural Service Providers

Online RAPs Quiz

Visit this online quiz put together by Orleans County Conservation District to provide information about "relevant agricultural standards that will control and reduce agricultural non-point source pollution from field and farm production areas." (Completing it will count as 2 of the required 4 education hours for livestock farmers.)

UVM Extension Faculty & Staff Available to Help Your Farm Address Water Quality

  • Sidney C. Bosworth Rico Balzano
    Extension Professor
    Providing soil tests and nutrient recommendations for farmers statewide.
    E-mail: Phone: (802) 656-0478
  • Jeff Carter Jeff Carter
    Extension Assistant Professor: Agronomy Specialist, Field Crops & Nutrient Management
    Serving Addison County and the Lake Champlain Watershed
    E-mail: Phone: (802) 388-4969 ext.332
  • Jenn Colby Jenn Colby
    Pasture Program Coordinator
    Serving livestock farmers across Vermont
    Phone: (802) 656-0858
  • Heather Darby Heather Darby
    Extension Professor: Agronomy Specialist
    Serving farmers across Vermont, particularly those in the NW and the Lake Champlain Watershed.
    E-mail: Phone: (802) 524-6501
  • Joshua Faulkner Joshua Faulkner Farming & Climate Change Coordinator
    Serving farmers across Vermont
    Phone: (802) 656-3495
  • Vern Grubinger Vern Grubinger Extension Professor: Vegetable & Berry Specialist
    Serving vegetable and berry farmers across Vermont
    Phone: (802) 257-7967 x303
  • Becky Maden Becky Maden
    Vegetable Nutrient Management Specialist
    Based in Rutland
    E-mail: Phone: (802) 773-3349, ext. 277
  • Jeff Sanders Jeff Sanders Agronomy Outreach Professional
    Serving the Lake Champlain Watershed (based in St. Albans, serving the north lake)
    Phone: (802) 524-6501
  • Kirsten Workman Kirsten Workman Agronomy Outreach Professional
    Serving the Lake Champlain Watershed (based in Middlebury, serving the central lake)
    Phone: (802) 388-4969

Top Recommendations for Farmers and Land-Owners Concerned with Water Quality

  1. Our top recommendation for anyone working with the land is to consider soil health, including building soil carbon, reducing tillage and covering the soil 24/7, as your first priority . Many of the resources we suggest (especially Ray Archuleta's ) are based on this approach that not only will help you protect water quality, but also will increase profitability, help sequester carbon, and increase your farm's resiliency to withstand extreme weather events.

    Measuring Soil Health

  2. Familiarize yourself with Vermont's Required Agricultural Practices.

    State of Vermont Water Quality Logos

  3. Find a farmer group in your area so you can learn from your neighbors what is and isn't working for them.

    Farmers on Pasture Walk

  4. Let your UVM Extension staff and faculty know if we can help! We are here to help you assess and address the particular situation of your farm, addressing both profitability and environmental impact.

    Jenn Teaching Group

Extension Programs & Information to Help You Address Agricultural Water Quality

Regional Farmer Groups Working on Water Quality Issues

  • Connecticut River Farmers Watershed Alliance : a farmer-led group aimed at helping farmers implement environmentally sound practices in Vermont & New Hampshire.
  • Farmers' Watershed Alliance : a Franklin and Grand Isle based organization that provides assistance and funding to farmers to help minimize environmental impacts.
  • Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition : a group of Farmers in the Lake Champlain Basin who have taken on a leadership role to show that a strong Local Farm Economy and a clean Lake Champlain can work together.


Policy, Regulations & Efforts to Improve Vermont's Agricultural Water Quality

Resources to Help Farmers Implement Conservation Practices

About this Page

Picturesque lakes, mesmerizing waterfalls and flowing rivers are the cornerstone of Vermont's natural landscape. Abundant freshwater has allowed crops and communities to thrive here for centuries, but the integrity of many of our waterways is threatened by nutrient-rich runoff from roads, fields and development. Climate change is expected to bring increased annual precipitation and higher likelihood of damaging floods to the region, which would further exacerbate these impacts.

Clean water is essential for the health of our economy and communities. Vermonters are embracing their responsibility to do their part to protect and preserve the health of our waters for generations to come. From cover crops to reduced tillage, many water quality improvement measures result in healthier, more productive soils while decreasing runoff and erosion.

Through the Department of Environmental Conservation's new ECO AmeriCorps program, the Center for Sustainable Agriculture was grateful to host a full time member, Michelle Graziosi, who worked on a variety of water quality projects and initiatives. Michelle worked with our team to gather these resources to assist farmers, service providers, and members of the extended community in our shared work towards clean water and productive and profitable farms for Vermont, and we're glad to share them with you.

We know there's a lot of information listed here. If you're seeking help but don't know where to start, give us a call at 802-656-5459 and we'll do our best to steer you in the right direction!