Lamoille Valley Farm & Forest Initiative
Many of us know the countless benefits of buying local economics, community building and environmental concerns all come into play. Increased development means greater disturbance to soils, greater impact on natural resources, and greater stress on the capacity of existing farm and forest land to produce more on less land and to maintain the pastoral nature of the landscape. How can we as consumers and producers keep fields and forests under sustainable cultivation? How does the working landscape impact water quality? The correlation between the working landscape and water quality is quite direct. More active farm and forest lands means more land that is allowed to filter, absorb, and hold water thus recharging aquifers and streams in a way that minimizes soil erosion and water quality degradation. Keeping the small farm and woodlot as mainstays on the landscape means less land that is lost to impervious surfaces such as parking lots and pavement.
Encouraged by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Lamoille River Basin Plan, LCCD works to look at the entire Lamoille Watershed as a project area when appropriate, and to create collaborative projects between conservation-minded organizations and agencies. Participants in the Lamoille Basin planning process outlined the loss of the working landscape as one of the top issues facing Lamoille Valley as land is fragmented and developed at a rapid pace. Based on this recommendation, the Lamoille Valley Farm & Forest Initiative’s main goal is to support the working landscape and advocate for a farm and forest lands-based economy of the Lamoille River Watershed. The initiative is comprised of a series of projects that support the working landscape, be it farming or forestry or their secondary markets.
LCCD strives to support Vermont’s Non-Point Pollution Reduction Program, both on the farm, home, and forestlands, through the promotion of Accepted Agricultural Practices (AAP’s), Best Management Practices (BMP’s), and Acceptable Management Practices (AMP’s). LCCD’s commitment to non-point pollution reduction is the driving force for our ongoing farm and forestry projects listed here.
Lamoille Valley Farm & Forest Directory
Over a year of research culminated in a local resource guide to over 200 primary and secondary agricultural and forest product producers within the watershed. The directory is a resource for people who are looking to buy local products and directly support their working neighbors. Funding for the project was made available through the Sustainable Future Fund, the Waterwheel Foundation, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and the Northern Vermont Resource Conservation & Development.
A limited number of hard copies are available; we encourage people to download the directory (pdf 10 MB) by clicking on the cover. For those who interested in being added to the mailing list for future LVFFI updates, or for more information please contact us.
Agricultural Outreach Initiative
In 2013, LCCD joined in a state-wide initiative to reach out to new and small farms to introduce them to conservation partners and programs such as the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, UVM Agricultural Extension Program, among others. With initial support from the Vermont State Legislature, VT NRCDs assisted “small” farmers to learn about Soil Health and Nutrient Management Planning. Through this initiative, LCCD helped create Conservation in Vermont: Best Management Practices for Farm and Forest Owners that showcases a number of cost saving and resources practices that landowners can participate in through district and partner programs. Printed copies are available at the Morrisville USDA Service Center.
Vermont Regional Conservation Partnership Program
In 2015, the Vermont Association of Conservation Districts received a grant funded through USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) that brings together partners to improve water quality and promote a sustainable working landscape. The program provides technical support to small livestock farms to get ahead of and comply with the upcoming Vermont state regulations, the Required Agricultural Practices. VT NRCDs, including LCCD, provide support for farmers to plan agronomic practices to improve soil health and protect water quality, to improve farm economics with efficient use and targeting of on-farm nutrients. The RCPP provides supported, voluntary and non-regulatory Nutrient Management Planning training program for farmers with conservation practice implementation follow-up for three years.
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
CREP is a cost share program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides annual rental payments to farmers who convert highly erodible cropland or other environmentally sensitive acreage to vegetative cover such as native grasses or trees. The overall goal of CREP is to reduce soil erosion, protect the ability to produce food and fiber, reduce sedimentation in streams and lakes, improve water quality, establish wildlife habitat and enhance forest and wetland resources.
Since 2005, the LCCD has worked in partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), and Lamoille County producers to coordinate the ordering and planting of over 5,000 stems on over 20 acres of land in the Lamoille and Winooski Watersheds. United States Department of Agriculture Learn more about CREP at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/crp/
Portable Skidder Bridge Rental Program
The Portable Skidder Bridge Rental Program supports the Acceptable Management Practices for Maintaining Water Quality on Logging Jobs in Vermont. The bridges and program were funded by the Ecosystem Restoration Program (formerly the Clean and Clear Program) made is possible by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, the Vermont Departments of Forest, Parks and Recreation, the Green Mountain Career and Technology Center, and the Jericho Research Forest. Click here for the Vermont Portable Skidder Bridge information from the Vermont Departments of Forest, Parks, and Recreation or call LCCD to learn more or to rent a bridge in the Lamoille Watershed.
LCCD has three portable skidder bridges to rent for stream crossings on logging operations. Rental fees are $100/month and require a $200 Deposit. If you would like to rent a bridge, contact (802) 888-9218 ext.113. Bridges are housed at Buffalo Mountain Wood and Transfer in Hardwick and Manchester’s Lumber in Johnson. Completed paperwork submitted to LCCD is necessary and required to rent a bridge.
Bridge Information and Documents (For more specs or building designs, please contact LCCD)