Among other changes to agricultural programs and requirements, this bill adds a requirement that for farmers to be eligible to receive available State financial assistance for the installation of on-farm improvements to control agricultural nonpoint source waste discharges, the improvements must be constructed on a farm that is in good standing with the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets in regard to all grant agreements, contract awards, or enforcement proceedings at the time of the award.

The Vermont Agricultural Buffer Program, renamed the Vermont Seeding and Filter Strip Program, would now compensate farmers for establishing and maintaining harvestable perennial vegetative grassed waterways and filter strips on agricultural cropland perpendicular and adjacent to the surface waters of the State. Eligible acreage would include annually tilled cropland or a portion of cropland currently cropped as hay that will not be rotated into an annual crop for a 10-year period of time. Acreage that is currently managed as hay must have a prior history of rotation as corn or other annual commodity crop. Incentive payments from the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets would now be made at the outset of a 10-year agreement to establish or maintain the acreage as harvestable grassed waterway or filter strip rather than made annually at the end of the cropping season for a nonrenewable five-year period.

Status: This is a bill created by the House Committee on Agriculture and Forest Products that was introduced on 3/17/2015, read three times, and passed the House on 3/20/2015.   On 3/25/2015 it was read for the first time in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Agriculture.

Click here to read the bill as it was introduced.   The bill as it was passed by the House is not available yet.

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