Since Mr. Jefferies is looking for feedback on the proposed regulations, I thought I'd help him out, and illustrate the impact of this sort of regulation on a farm by marking up the map of Walters farm. These are estimates and rough speculation based on aerial photos. They're my best estimate, but don't bet the farm on absolute correctness here. This post represents my opinion only.
|old photo/Farm map showing paddock names: Source: SMF|
|More recent picture, with contour lines showing slopes. Source: Google maps|
|10' or 25' buffer around intermittent water or surface water. Source: Google maps|
|Livestock fenced off from surface water. Source: Google maps|
|Click on picture for bigger view. SMF south field. Source: Google maps|
I don't think that Mr. Jefferies land has an area that floods, except maybe the "marsh" and "north marsh" areas, but we'll skip that part of the proposed regulation.
Here's a big one: Manure stacking.
|200' manure exclusion zones. Source: Google maps|
Now I've taken Walters cleared area as being his property line, and drawn the exclusion lines that way. But he may not have a property line there, so it might not apply. The two circles are around what I presume are his personal water supply, at the house and at a spring somewhere uphill. I don't really know where is uphill spring is, so I just picked a spot.
Now the state of Vermont isn't done with manure. They want you to test the soil, and not to apply manure to soils that can't absorb the material. (over 10% slope without 100% vegetative cover 100' around surface waters, exceed phosphorus levels of 20ppm, are frozen or snow covered or saturated with water.
The 10% slope/100% vegetation cover may exclude the entire area of Mr. Jefferies farm from being used, or at least a big part of it. In my opinion, from what I can tell about Mr. Jefferies farm from these photos, there doesn't appear to have 100% cover, and most of his farm appears to be more than 10% grade; he is in the mountains of vermont, after all. Grazing animals spread manure. So this could be construed as prohibiting grazing unless the ground has vegetation on it; and since there are apparently patches of bare ground all over the place, well...
By keeping his animals outdoors, manure is being deposited on top of snow, frozen or saturated ground for a portion of the year, and this would apply to Walters ENTIRE farm with the exception of the greenhouse. And that's may be a violation of these proposed rules. To comply with this portion of the regulation, Walter would have to confine his pigs to the greenhouse for as long as the ground is frozen -- 4 or 5 months a year, maybe? Probably December 15th to April 1st, which is 4.5 months. Maybe October 15th to April 15th (6 months) - both date ranges are mentioned in the regulations. Welcome to mucking out barns and owning a manure spreader, Walter! and by the way: you can't spread it in the manure exclusion zone.
In addition, Mr. Jefferies will have to either develop a nutrient management plan (NMP) that meets NRCS standards to be certified, or choose to be uncertified and do soil tests, manure analysis, and to keep records on manure application and spreading.
Now in truth, these water quality standards are probably based on federal standards, and honestly, they're pretty darn close to those standards that I am required to follow (and do follow) on my own farm.
I understand Mr. Jefferies squawking about these regulations, but there is a price to being a good neighbor and a good farm, and this sort of regulation is just that.
Welcome to the club, Sugar Mountain Farm.