MONTPELIER, Vt. — The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) would like to remind all farm operations that the annual winter manure spreading ban has begun. Between December 15, 2022 and April 1, 2023 no manure or other agricultural wastes (including compost and spoiled feed) may be spread on agricultural fields throughout Vermont.
This annual ban is required by the Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs), which is a part of VAAFM’s overall strategy to protect water quality, the working landscape, and natural resources. The ban is a regulation that has been in place since 1995. The RAPs also prohibit the application of manure or agricultural wastes on frozen, saturated or snow-covered fields outside of the winter manure spreading ban. Manure does not soak effectively into frozen, snow-covered or saturated ground. Manure spread during the winter months therefore has a heightened risk of running off to waterways when the snow and ground finally thaws.
The RAPs state that farmers must either have a storage structure that can hold all manure produced between December 15th and April 1st, which is 106 days, or they must be able to stack all manure produced in a way that meets RAP standards and will not lead to adverse water quality impacts. For additional information about the RAPs, including a copy of the full rule please visit: www.agriculture.vermont.gov/rap .
Manure spreading is a common practice in Vermont agriculture which enriches the soil for crop production and is an important part of the agricultural nutrient cycle. Fertilized crops become feed for livestock that then produce manure that is then yet again spread on fields, continuing the cycle. Per the RAPs, farms are required to utilize nutrient management planning and to keep records of applications that occur including the date, time, amount, field location and weather and field conditions at the time of application.
Questions about the manure spreading ban, requests for assistance in the selection of appropriate manure stacking sites, or to request an emergency exemption please contact Laura DiPietro at 802-595-1990 or Nate Sands at 802-224-6850.
–Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets