Farmers receive water quality grants

VERMONT — An award from the Keep Local Farms Fund is being used by two Vermont farmer organizations, the Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition (CVFC) and DairyVision Vermont, to help Vermont farmers protect water quality with recommended new practices and technology improvements.
The $45,000 to CVFC and $12,500 to DairyVision Vermont in scholarship aid is part of awards totaling $104,900 in grants to dairy-related education and other initiatives across New England.
CVFC will use the funds primarily to help farmers learn about new ways to protect and enhance water quality in the state, according to a recent press release from the New England Dairy and Food Council. CVFC is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the quality of the environment while maintaining a strong farm economy in Vermont.
“As stewards of the land, farmers continually look for innovative ways to protect and conserve the environment,” said CVFC President Brian Kemp of Cornwall. “These funds will allow us to hire a staff person to visit farms and provide personal outreach to increase awareness about new methods and technologies they can use to protect our waterways.”
DairyVision Vermont, whose members include the Clifford Farm of Starksboro, will also be a resource for farmers to learn how to best protect water quality. DairyVision is a nonprofit organization that provides Vermont’s dairy farmers with the business skills and guidance needed to create successful dairy operations.
“We’ll use the Keep Local Farms funding to help dairy farmers navigate the changing water quality regulations in Vermont,” said DairyVision Executive Director Jackie Folsom. “We would like to be a conduit of information — through forums, meetings and workshops.”
Folsom said that farms also face challenges with human resources, and that the funds will also be used to provide one-on-one meetings or consultations to assist dairy farmers with hiring and retaining employees, organization of their staff, etc.
“New England dairy farmers are focused on continuous improvement and that includes enhancing the sustainability of their farms,” says Jenny Karl, of the New England Dairy Promotion Board, which created the fund that is administered through the Vermont Community Foundation.
“The Keep Local Farms Fund grants provide funding to New England nonprofits that support the education of New Englanders as well as future and current dairy farmers,” Karl continued. “The goal is to support the long-term sustainability of the New England dairy sector as a whole.”

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