LYNDON- Due to a recent update with Act 64, Vermont farmers have new rules and regulations that they need to abide by. The most important rule, as well as most controversial, is keeping water in the Green Mountain State clean and not contaminated with feces or chemicals.
The act explains the importance of Vermont's surface waters, and says that without state action to improve the quality of water and prevent further degradation, the state of Vermont will be at risk of losing valuable functions that the state's water provides.
Some of the new rules that farmers must abide by include preventing water runoff past their property boarders, maintaining soil quality, and keeping fertilizer and manure away from streams and other bodies of water. The St. Albans area is where the state expresses a majority of their concern, as there are a lot of large farms in close proximity to Lake Champlain.
"Going forward, we're all committed to finding a way to have a clean and healthy lake and thriving agricultural economy; because both are really important and make Vermont what it is today." Said Agriculture Department of Communications Director, Alison Kosakowski.
However, farmers are having a harder time with the idea. "Well there's a tremendous amount of energy involved in trying to understand these new regulations...they can be confusing, they can be intimidating. People are trying to run their farms. They're trying to make a living, pay their bills, raise their families and this is another layer on top of that and I think people are really concerned about how do I comply with those?" said Agriculture Agency Secretary, Anson Tebbetts. The Frustration has been expressed by farmers across the state as they have to follow certain pollution regulations, and the public does not.
On the other hand, John Miller, a farmer from Lyndon believes it is a responsibility (as a farmer) to the community. "As a local citizen, you know, I want to be careful of what I do as far as I don't want to pollute the streams. I have had the state come and look, and everything they looked at, they said was fine." Said Miller.
Currently, the Department of Agriculture says they will try to hold off on implementing new legislation in order to give farmers time to establish water management systems. For more information on Act 64 and all of the regulations click here.