State News

Manure spreading ban includes new stipulations

Winter manure spreading is a common practice in Vermont agriculture that enriches the soil for production and helps manage animal waste.
Between Dec. 15 and April 1, no manure or other agricultural wastes (compost, spoiled feed, other wastes) may be spread on fields.
This annual ban is part of an overall stepped-up strategy to protect the working landscape and natural resources, outlined in Vermont’s new Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs).
The winter manure spreading ban is a regulation that has been in place since 1995 under the old Accepted Agricultural Practices rule. The newly effective rule, promulgated by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, continues the 20-year-old ban while providing several new standards for manure spreading.
Farms throughout Vermont will need to be aware of these new standards in order to appropriately site manure stacking sites this winter and to meet new manure spreading requirements for the 2017 field season and beyond.
For this winter’s ban, farmers must either have a storage structure that is capable of holding all manure produced from Dec. 15 to April 1, which is 107 days, or they must be able to stack all manure produced in a way that will not impact surface water quality adversely.
When field-stacking manure, the RAPs now 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, within 100 feet of a ditch, or on land that is subject to annual overflow from adjacent waters.
In all these situations, however, farmers may request a variance if they can demonstrate to the Secretary of Agriculture that no alternative sites exist.
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, he or she may contact VAAFM for assistance with planning winter manure management.

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