Winter Manure Spreading Ban Begins December 15th
Winter requires farmers to operate with great care and also abide by season-specific rules.
“Winter presents all of us with weather-related challenges, but for farmers, there is a heightened need for vigilance,” according the Chuck Ross, Vermont’s Secretary of Agriculture. “Safety, stewardship practices, and advance-planning must remain top-of-mind for all our farmers this winter.”
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets is issuing the following reminder to farmers:
Manure Spreading Ban Begins Dec. 15
The manure spreading ban will once again take effect December 15.
This annual ban is part of an overall strategy to protect our working landscape and natural resources, as outlined in Vermont’s Accepted Agricultural Practices (AAPs). The Agency works closely with farmers across the state to ensure the AAPs are enforced.
Manure spreading is a common practice in Vermont agriculture which enriches the soil for production and helps manage animal waste.
The manure spreading ban is a regulation that has been in place since 1995 under the Accepted Agricultural Practice rules. Vermont was a leading state in developing such a ban. In recent years several other states have considered adopting, or have adopted, the idea. Research has shown that manure applications on frozen ground can increase the runoff potential. Vermont chose to select a ban period from December 15th to April 1st each year to protect water quality; however the Agency has discretion with those dates to accommodate unusual circumstances.
During the ban, farmers must either have a storage structure that is capable of holding all manure produced from December 15th to April 1st, which is 107 days, or they must be able to stack all manure produced in a way that will not lead to water quality impacts. 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, please contact VAAFM for assistance with planning winter manure management.
When stacking manure, AAPs require that stacking sites be located more than 100 feet from private wells or property boundaries. In addition, manure cannot be stacked on unimproved sites within 100 feet of surface water, or on land that is subject to annual overflow from adjacent waters. In all these situations, however, farmers have the opportunity to demonstrate to the Secretary of Agriculture that no alternative sites exist to enable you to meet these restrictions.
If you have any questions about the manure spreading ban, or if you would like assistance in the selection of appropriate manure stacking sites, please call the Agency of Agriculture at (802) 828-3475.