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 December 15 and April 1, 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 RAPs, which is a 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 is a regulation that 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 which are prohibited from application in winter, as well as extending the winter spreading ban to many floodplain fields from October 16 to April 14. The new RAPs also prohibit the application of manure or agricultural wastes on frozen or snow-covered fields. Manure spreading has been prohibited across Vermont’s farm fields since this past Tuesday’s statewide snow storm. Manure spreading is a common practice in Vermont agriculture which enriches the soil for production and helps manage animal waste.
For a PDF booklet explaining RAP’s and the winter manure spreading ban, please visit https://agriculture.vermont.gov/sites/ag/files/RAPsummaryPDF.pdf.
For this winter’s manure spreading ban, farmers must either have a storage structure that is capable of holding all manure produced between December 15th to April 1st, which is 106 days, or they must be able to stack all manure produced in a way that will not lead to adverse water quality impacts.
When field stacking manure, the RAPs require that 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 manure spreading ban restrictions, they should contact VAAFM for assistance with planning winter manure management.
Questions about the manure spreading ban, or any requests for assistance in the selection of appropriate manure stacking sites or to request an emergency exemption, can be directed to VAAFM at (802) 828-2431.