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Public Hearings for the Agency of Agriculture’s Required Agricultural Practices Proposed Rule to begin June 21, 2016

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) will host six public hearings on the Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs) Proposed Rule on June 21 in St. Albans, June 22 in Brandon, June 23 in South Royalton, June 27 in Manchester, June 28 in Newport, and June 29 in Brattleboro.

WHAT: VAAFM will host six public hearings throughout Vermont for farmers, stakeholders and the public to provide testimony and comment on the RAP Proposed Rule.  A public comment period on the RAP Proposed Rule is open until July 7, 2016.  The RAP Proposed Rule is available on the Agency website: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/water-quality/regulations/rap

As a result of Act 64—the Vermont Clean Water Act—signed into law in June 2015, the Agency of Agriculture was tasked with updating the Accepted Agricultural Practices (AAPs) to further reduce the impact of agriculture on water quality across the state. The RAPs are an updated version of the AAPs, the rules in place since 1995 which regulate farms in order to protect water quality, re-written to a higher level of performance.

To date, VAAFM has held more than 80 small stakeholder and large public meetings on the RAPs to solicit feedback from farmers, stakeholders and the public.  Over 1800 constituents have attended these meetings since October, 2015.  Summary outreach materials, including the recording of a webinar explaining the RAP Proposed Rule in detail, are available on the Agency website: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/water-quality/regulations/rap

These public hearings open to the public.  A print copy of the RAP Proposed Rule can be requested by e-mail, phone or in writing.  Email AGR.RAP@vermont.gov or call (802) 828-2431 for more information.

Written public comment can be submitted to the Agency’s RAP e-mail inbox at AGR.RAP@vermont.gov or by mailing comment to the Agency of Agriculture at 116 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05620.

WHO: Farmers, stakeholders and the general public can attend these public hearings to learn more about the RAP Proposed Rule and to share testimony and comment.

VAAFM was directed by the Legislature to draft the RAPs pursuant to Act 64, signed into law on June 16, 2015.  Act 64 of 2015 amended and enacted multiple requirements related to water quality in the State.  Act 64 requires that the revised RAPs include requirements for: small farm certification, nutrient storage, soil health, buffer zones, livestock exclusion, and nutrient management.

WHEN/WHERE: Required Agricultural Practices Proposed Rule Public Hearing

June 21, 2016 | 12:30–3:30 PM

St Albans Historical Museum | 9 Church Street, St. Albans City, VT 05478

Required Agricultural Practices Proposed Rule Public Hearing

 

June 22, 2016 | 12:30–3:30 PM

Brandon American Legion | 590 Franklin St., Brandon, VT 05733

Required Agricultural Practices Proposed Rule Public Hearing

 

June 23, 2016 | 12:30–3:30 PM

Vermont Law School | 164 Chelsea St., South Royalton, VT 05068

Required Agricultural Practices Proposed Rule Public Hearing

 

June 27, 2016 | 12:30–3:30 PM

Fraternal Order of Eagles | 2282 VT-11, Manchester Center, VT 05255

Required Agricultural Practices Proposed Rule Public Hearing

 

June 28, 2016 | 12:30–3:30 PM

Newport American Legion | 160 Freeman St., Newport, VT 05855

Required Agricultural Practices Proposed Rule Public Hearing

 

June 29, 2016 | 12:30–3:30 PM

Brattleboro American Legion | 32 Linden St., Brattleboro, VT 05301

 

For more information about the RAPs, and the Agency’s efforts to implement Act 64 of 2015, please visit http://agriculture.vermont.gov/water-quality/regulations/rap or contact the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets at (802) 828-2431.