Well-Managed Livestock Farms Help Ensure Clean Water

Clean water is essential for the health of our economy and communities. Vermonters - including farmers and landowners - are embracing their responsibility to do their part in protecting Vermont's waterways, and UVM Extension staff and faculty are available to help.

As our colleagues at Vermont's Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets say on their website:

More than 1.2 million acres of Vermont land is devoted to farming, and agriculture is one of our most important industries. As a whole, agriculture preserves open land, provides us healthy local foods, and is an essential part of Vermont's identity.

At the same time, Vermont's waters are critical to our economy and to our quality of life. We do not have to trade one for the other. Vermont's RAPs are an important tool designed to help farmers implement effective waste management practices that simultaneously promote the long-term viability of farms and the health of our state waterways.

UVM Extension Staff & Faculty Available to Help You Address Water Quality on the Farm

Sid Bosworth

Sid Bosworth,
Extension Professor

Providing soil tests and nutrient recommendations for farmers statewide.
sid.bosworth@uvm.edu or(802) 656-0478



Jeff Carter

Jeff Carter
Extension Associate Professor: Agronomy Specialist, Field Crops & Nutrient Management

Serving Addison County and the Lake Champlain Watershed
jeff.carter@uvm.edu or(802) 388-4969 ext.332


Jenn ColbyJenn Colby
Pasture Program Coordinator

Serving livestock farmers across Vermont. jcolby@uvm.edu or (802) 476-2003 ext. 219




Heather DarbyHeather Darby
Extension Professor: Agronomy Specialist

Serving farmers across Vermont, particularly those in the NW and the Lake Champlain Watershed.
heather.darby@uvm.edu or (802) 524-6501



Joshua FaulknerJoshua Faulkner
Farming & Climate Change Coordinator

Serving farmers across Vermont
joshua.faulkner@uvm.edu or (802) 656-3495




Vern GrubingerVern Grubinger
Extension Professor: Vegetable & Berry Specialist

Serving vegetable and berry farmers across Vermont
vernon.grubinger@uvm.edu or (802) 257-7967 ext. 303




Laura JohnsonLaura Johnson
Agronomy Outreach Professional

Serving farmers in the Connecticut River watershed, laura.o.johnson@uvm.edu or (802)751-8307, ext. 356



Becky MadenBecky Maden
Vegetable Nutrient Management Specialist

Based in Rutland
rebecca.maden@uvm.edu or (802) 773-3349, ext. 277


Jeff SandersJeff Sanders
Agronomy Outreach Professional

Serving the Lake Champlain Watershed (based in St. Albans, serving the north lake)
jeffrey.sanders@uvm.edu or (802) 524-6501



Kristen WorkmanKirsten Workman
Agronomy Outreach Professional

Serving the Lake Champlain Watershed (based in Middlebury, serving the central lake)
kirsten.workman@uvm.edu or (802) 388-4969



Top Recommendations for Farmers and Land-Owners Working on Water Quality

Many of the resources we suggest are based on the belief that healthy soils will help you protect water quality, and also will increase profitability, help sequester carbon, and increase your farm's resiliency to withstand extreme weather events. Healthy soil means both healthy water and a more profitable farm operation.

  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 .
  2. Familiarize yourself with Vermont's Required Agricultural Practices.
  3. Find a farmer group in your area (see list towards the bottom of this page) so you can learn from your neighbors what is and isn't working for them.
  4. Let your UVM Extension staff and faculty know if we can help!  We are here to help with nutrient management plans, and other ways to assess and address the particular situation of your farm, considering both profitability and environmental impact.

Extension Programs & Information to Help You Address Agricultural Water Quality

Learn about Extension's Work to Improve and Protect Vermont's Water Quallity

Want to learn more about Vermont’s Required Agricultural Practices?

Take the RAP Online Quiz!

The RAP Online Quiz, an engaging educational course created by the Orleans County Natural Resources Conservation District, includes an outline of how the RAPs apply to your farmstead, field & nutrient management, with video and photo examples of commonly misunderstood RAP topics, such as livestock exclusion from surface water, information on how different management practices impact water quality, and links to resources for grants and assistance. The quiz takes about an hour to complete and farmers will receive two water quality credits upon successful completion.

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.

Resources to Help Farmers Implement Conservation Practices

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

  • The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets ' page containing "an evolving collection of resources aimed at educating farmers, landowners, and Vermonters-at-large about the Agency's water quality program." Check here first for the latest updates to the Required Agricultural Practices.

  • Learn more about VAAFM's support for innovative projects that help implement solutions to agricultural water quality challenges in this recent video.


  • Vermont Farm to Plate's Strategic Plan for Water Quality Outlines how agriculture has impacted water quality in Vermont and provides information on a variety funding opportunities, initiatives and cost share programs available for farmers to help lessen their impact.

  • Vermont Required Agricultural Practices Extensive information including details of the RAP Final Rule, downloadable factsheets for farmers, maps of frequently flooded areas and more


Interested in knowing more about the Center's work or do you have a question we haven't answered here?  Contact us via email or  802-656-5459 and we'll do our best to help.

Woodcut of a farm with people gathering produce and cows grazing


  • Help with a plan for grazing your livestock:  Kimberly Hagen at  802-656-3834 or.kimberly.hagen@uvm.edu
  • General inquiries and potential partnerships: Jenn Colby at 802-535-7606 or jcolby@uvm.edu
  • Vermont Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program Education Coordinator Mary Ellen Franklin at MaryEllen.Franklin@uvm.edu
  • Pasture walks and other upcoming events: Colene Reed at colene.reed@uvm.edu
  • Help with your Connecticut River watershed farm, including nutrient management and other water quality-related issues: Laura Johnson at laura.o.johnson@uvm.edu
  • Research questions or ideas: Juan Alvez at 802-656-6116 or juan.alvez@uvm.edu
  • Include pasture-related events in online or email Pasture Calendars: Cheryl Herrick at cheryl.herrick@uvm.edu

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