Manure spreading ban now in affect until April 1

MONTPELIER — Manure spreading is a common Vermont agricultural practice that enriches the soil for production and helps manage animal waste. Some times, however, are better than others for spreading.
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets would like to remind all state farm operations that the 23rd annual winter manure spreading ban is underway. As required by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets’ (VAAFM) Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs), between Dec. 15 and April 1, no manure or other agricultural wastes — including compost and spoiled feed — may be spread on Vermont’s agricultural fields.
The RAPs require this annual ban as part of VAAFM’s overall strategy to protect water quality, the working landscape and natural resources. VAAFM works closely with farmers across the state to ensure the RAPs are understood and complied with.
The winter manure spreading ban has been in place since 1995. A revision to the RAPs — newly effective one year ago — continues the winter manure spreading ban while expanding the types of farm generated wastes prohibited from application in winter. In addition, the winter spreading ban now includes many floodplain fields from Oct. 16 to April 14. The new RAPs also prohibit the application of manure or agricultural wastes on frozen or snow-covered fields. Since the statewide snowstorm on Dec. 12, manure spreading has been prohibited across Vermont’s farm fields.
During the ban, farmers must either have a storage structure that is capable of holding all manure produced between Dec. 15 and April 1 — a total of 106 days — or they must be able to stack all manure produced in a way that will not lead to adverse water quality impacts. The RAPs require that field stacking sites be located at least 200 feet from private wells and 100 feet from property boundaries. In addition, manure cannot be stacked within 200 feet of surface water, 100 feet of a ditch, on land that is subject to annual overflow from adjacent waters, or on exposed bedrock.
Exemptions for winter manure spreading are available only for emergency situations, such as structural failure of a waste storage facility. If a farmer anticipates having an issue meeting the winter ban restrictions, they should contact VAAFM for assistance with planning winter manure management.
Questions about the manure spreading ban, requests for assistance in the selection of appropriate manure stacking sites or requests for an emergency exemption can be directed to VAAFM at 802-28-2431. For a PDF booklet explaining RAP’s and the winter manure spreading ban, visit this website (click here).

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