CT River Watershed Farmers' Alliance Committed to Conservation & Environmental Sustainability in 2017
Hartland, Vt. – Farmers and agricultural leaders from New Hampshire and Vermont gathered on Jan. 10 to review their goals and commitment to environmental sustainability as part of the annual meeting of the Connecticut River Watershed Farmers’ Alliance (CRWFA).
“We reviewed our successes, discussed challenges and shared ideas to preserve the quality of our watershed,” Paul Doton, CRWFA board chair and dairy farmer of Doton Farm, said.
CRWFA was founded in 2015 and has grown to a 30-member organization. Over the past year the CRWFA has worked to share resources about environmental-friendly practices, regulations and funding sources available to help farmers address water, soil and air quality challenges, Doton said.
In 2016 the group held information sessions to help farmers understand how to implement the new Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs) set by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, they partnered with like-minded organizations including UVM & UNH Extension to further implement methods of environmental stewardship on the farm, and sponsored field demonstrations that show the value of nutrient management plans, methods to reduce the tillage of soil, and planting cover crops.
“Cover crops are planted in the fall and provide a protective blanket for the soil doing the winter,” Steven Stocking, CRWFA board member and hay and silage corn farmer of Birch Meadow Farm said. “The process increases soil organic matter which in turn allows the soil to hold more water and prevents run-off that can lead to nutrient loss in the waterways. Cover crops are often planted without tilling up the soil which prevents erosion,” Stocking said.
Though much focus has been placed on the water quality of the Lake Champlain watershed, the Connecticut River Watershed is also vulnerable. It provides most of the fresh water to the Long Island Sound and too much nitrogen traveling down the river can pose a threat to human and wildlife communities.
“Our ultimate goal is to protect the quality of our water,” Doton said. “In 2017 we’ll make strides toward this goal by working to increase our farmer membership, securing grant funding for farmers to implement environmentally friendly practices on farms, and partnering with more like-minded organizations.”
The CRWFA also elected seven members of their 12-member Board of Directors. The new and re-elected members are Linda Corse of the Corse Farm LLC, Guy Crosby of Clay Hill Farm, Mike Dolloff of Dolloff Acres, Bill Emmons of Cloudland Farm, Walt Gladstone of Newmont Farm LLC, Ed MacGlaflin of MacGlaflin Farm, and Jeff McNamara of McNamara Dairy. They join the current board members, Katherine Adams of Tunbridge, Paul Doton of Doton Farm LLC, Beth Kennett of Liberty Hill Farm, Amy Richardson of Richardson Family Farm, and Steve Stocking of Birch Meadow Farm.
The economic viability of agriculture in the Connecticut River Watershed is dependent upon environmental practices that improve the quality of its water, soil and air. The Connecticut River Watershed Farmers Alliance (CRWFA) encourages all sectors of agriculture as well as municipalities and others to join in recognizing our shared responsibility to sustain the environmental health of the watershed. Together, we are committed and dedicated to preserving the quality of our environment while maintaining a strong agricultural sector for the economic and social benefit of the region.