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Agency of Ag Announces Statewide Agricultural Clean Water Initiative Grant Program

http://agriculture.vermont.gov/water-quality/farmer-assistance/ag-cwip

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (AAFM) is pleased to announce the first ever Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Ag Clean Water Initiative Program (Ag-CWIP).  This grant program is made possible and supported by the Clean Water Fund—a fund created by Act 64 of 2015, Vermont’s Clean Water Act.  The Ag-CWIP will provide new opportunities for farmers and organizations to undertake projects that will achieve reductions in nutrient runoff from agricultural lands, with a priority for projects which reduce phosphorus losses statewide.  Please visit http://agriculture.vermont.gov/water-quality/farmer-assistance/ag-cwip for the complete RFP Documents.

“The announcement of this program is an exciting new opportunity for the agricultural community in Vermont,” said Chuck Ross, Secretary of Agriculture.  “This program will help support the farmers and organizations who have embraced the call for clean water, and will enable them to enhance and expand their programming to provide education, outreach and implementation on farms throughout all of Vermont.”

The Ag-CWIP will provide funding to farmers, nonprofit organizations, regional associations, and other entities for the development and implementation of locally-led agricultural water quality programs and projects.  Funds will be available in three distinct categories—though organizations may submit applications in more than one category—including:

  • Education, Outreach and Implementation

  • Organizational Development

  • Innovative Phosphorus Reduction Activities

Laura DiPietro, Deputy Director of the Ag Resources Management Division at AAFM, expanded “One focus of this RFP is Innovative Phosphorus Reduction Strategies—we know there are watersheds where significant advances need to be made to meet water quality standards, and this program will help jumpstart and expand new strategies to meet these goals.”  DiPietro continued, “It’s important to note that AAFM currently has an additional $1.8 million available in traditional Best Management Practices (BMP) Program funding for 2017—the BMP program provides technical and financial assistance directly from AAFM to farms to implement conservation practices on farms.  This Innovative Phosphorus Reduction RFP is meant to cultivate new and more effective ways of meeting water quality standards on farms.”

The Innovative Phosphorus Reduction Activity category covers a broad range of activities that result in phosphorus reductions from agricultural land due changes in management or farm inputs. There should be no limit to the creativity of these proposals in that the goal is agricultural phosphorus reduction to waters of the state. Projects will be judged on their effectiveness towards the overall goal of phosphorus removal and/or phosphorus reduction.

If a potential applicant requires clarification of any portion of this RFP, specific questions can be submitted in writing no later than October 11, 2016.  Questions may be emailed to AGR.PhosphorusRFP@vermont.gov.  At the close of the question period a copy of all questions or comments and the Agency of Agriculture’s responses will be posted on the Agency’s web site: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/water-quality/farmer-assistance/ag-cwip.  The Agency expects to post responses to questions received by October 18, 2016.

Applications for this program are due by 4PM on October 25, 2016.

All applications must be submitted electronically to: AGR.PhosphorusRFP@vermont.gov