Vermont farmers who withdraw any surface waters (definition:10 V.S.A. § 1002(20) ) for farming are advised to begin keeping records of irrigation events this summer if they do not already do so. A new state law went into effect on July 1, 2022 which requires annual reporting to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) of surface water withdrawals used for farming. The first such annual report for farmers who qualify will be due to VAAFM on January 15, 2023. You qualify if you are a farmer who:
withdraws surface water for farming and uses more than 10,000 gallons of surface water within a 24-hour period, or
withdraws 150,000 gallons or more over any 30-day period during a calendar year
You are not subject to reporting requirements if you are a farmer who:
uses groundwater for agriculture
uses off-stream farm ponds for agriculture
Vermont agriculture is the first new sector of surface water handlers to report usage of waters to the State of Vermont based on Act 135 of 2022. VAAFM is committed to deploying the education, outreach, and technical assistance resources needed to help answer farmer questions about the new law and their responsibilities. If you are unsure if you qualify, VAAFM recommends you track your usage and use the below resources and contact information for help.
“At this time, the most simple and straightforward recommendation the agency can give farmers is: ‘Keep daily records of your surface water usage’; accurate event-by-event irrigation records will ensure easy and accurate reporting when the growing season is finished. Agency staff are available to help answer questions,” said Secretary of Agriculture Anson Tebbetts.