Soil improvement classes to be offered through UVM Extension

VERMONT — UVM Extension’s Champlain Valley Crop, Soil & Pasture Team is reminding farmers of several upcoming programs and workshops aimed to improve their farming practices.
Farm Agricultural Practices Program has set deadlines of June 15 to sign up for its Rotational Grazing program and Aug. 1 for Cover Crops instruction.
The Farm Agronomic Practices (FAP) Program is a state of Vermont program that uses state funding to help Vermont farms implement soil-based agronomic practices that improve soil quality, increase crop production, and reduce erosion and agricultural waste discharges. Farmers are encouraged to head online to to submit an application or print one out for mailing. All applications are due at least one month prior to practice implementation. Rotational Grazing applications must include a copy of the applicant’s grazing plan. 
Direct questions to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets —802-828-2431 or email the Water Quality Division.
For help completing an application, call 802-388-4969, ext. 346, to speak with Cheryl on grazing plans, or ext. 347 to speak to Kirsten on cover crop plans

Meanwhile, the Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) has launched a one-time grant program called COVID-19 Response Business Development Grants. Funding is available for agriculture and forestry businesses to maintain operations while increasing capacity to rebuild and/or recover during an unprecedented time of need.
Applying organizations must have experienced, and be able to clearly articulate, negative business impacts due to COVID-19. Eligible proposals must focus on business response, shifting marketing strategies, or other activities that may improve business recovery. Project activities eligible for funding include:
•  Market development
•  Value-added production
•  Research and development
•  Growth strategy
Funds total $180,000 and eligible grants will be awarded within the range of $5,000 to $25,000. The application period closes on May 31, 2020. Register and apply online here:
For more information, contact the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative at 802-622-4477, or email them at [email protected].

Separately, Conservation Stewardship Program applications are due May 29. Applications are accepted throughout the year, but interested producers should submit applications by May 29 to their local Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) office to ensure their applications are considered for funding this year. 
It is the largest conservation program in the United States with more than 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled. There are new improvements to the program. Read about it at  or call the Middlebury NRCS office at 802-388-6748.  

Finally, to support the resilience and long-term success of Vermont’s producers, the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program is offering disaster response support to working lands businesses with urgent needs related to COVID-19. 
Support includes consultation with an expert business advisor to assess the unique needs of your business, provide assistance and connection to resources, and help you plan your next steps. The initial consultation is 30-60 minutes with follow-up meetings as needed to address specific issues. 
See the program website at for more information, or contact Mariah Noth at 802-828-1098.

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