MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — New federal funding will reward Vermont farmers who further reduce phosphorus runoff from beyond current targets.
The $7 million in funding announced Thursday is meant to help Vermont meet clean water targets, officials said.
“Vermont’s farmers play a critical in meeting our clean water goals,” Vermont Gov. Phil Scott said in a statement. “This incentive will improve water quality while also helping the bottom line on farms, which is a great example of how we move forward on our environmental and economic goals.”
The Vermont-Pay-for-Phosphorus program will pay farmers who reduce the phosphorus load on their farms beyond current targets. Farmers have discretion in how they achieve this reduction, and can earn up to $4,000 per farm that they enroll in the program.
The five-year program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
In 2015, former Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a law requiring the state to take a number of steps to reduce phosphorus pollution. But in July, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warned Vermont that it was in danger of failing to meet all of the milestones for reducing phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain.
An EPA report in April found Vermont had met about 8% of the total reduction target for phosphorus in Lake Champlain.
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