June 14, 2011
The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation has awarded the University of Vermont (UVM) Extension $49,200 to support their efforts in reducing tillage in order to reduce agricultural impacts on water quality. Funding for this project will be used by UVM to purchase a no-till grain drill as well as fit-up corn planting equipment to expand the use of no-till/zone-till corn systems. The project will fund fit-up of at least three planters to exponentially increase the amount of corn acres in reduced tillage. UVM will work one-on-one with farmers to develop reduced tillage systems appropriate for their farms. The purchase of this equipment will help more farmers reach the goal of protecting water quality and improving farm viability.
The project will focus on the St. Albans and Missisquoi Bays, which are partially situated in Orleans, Franklin and Grand Isle counties in Northwestern Vermont. According to 2007 census data, there are about 30,000 acres in corn silage in these counties, which represents approximately 30 of all the silage acreage in the state of Vermont. This area also includes more than one-third of the dairy farms in the state of Vermont. Currently, there are an estimated 500 corn acres in reduced tillage in these watersheds; through this initiative the acreage would increase to 1500 acres over the next year. Based on results from past projects, it is reasonable to expect a two ton/acre reduction in soil loss on lands employing reduced tillage.
Ecosystem Restoration Grants are made available to Vermont municipalities, local or regional governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and citizens groups as part of the Ecosystem Restoration Program’s on-going efforts to reduce surface water pollution from phosphorus and sediment. Funded projects typically involve efforts to improve stream stability, protect against flood hazards, improve in-stream and riparian habitat, lessen the effects of stormwater runoff, protect and restore riparian wetlands, re-establish lake shoreline native vegetation, and enhance the environmental and economic sustainability of agricultural lands.
Source: Agency of Natural Resources
Last Updated at: June 14, 2011 14:23:46