A main part of our research is to engage farmers and other stakeholders via surveys, focus groups, and interviews to capture levels of payment farmers would be willing to accept in return for these improvements, enhancements, etc. Act 83 of 2019 directed the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets to convene a Soil Conservation Practice and Payment for Ecosystem Services Working Group. The purpose of this Working Group is to recommend financial incentives designed to encourage farmers in Vermont to implement agricultural practices that improve soil health, enhance crop resilience, increase carbon storage and stormwater storage capacity, and reduce agricultural runoff to waters.
The purpose of this study is to understand what conservation practices and conservation incentive programs are already being used by farmers in Vermont, and what kinds of compensation new programs should offer. New payment for ecosystem services programs are currently being considered by the state of Vermont, and your answers may help inform the design of new programs.
Understanding farmers’ land management practices and willingness to implement changes for related ecosystem services may be beneficial for both the researchers and farmers. Many functions of healthy soils and ecosystems benefit farm productivity while simultaneously protecting natural landscapes and water bodies. Determining fair and realistic compensation to farmers for making changes on their land is a key step in achieving measurable results. This personal attention to farmers will provide us with insight from those who know the agricultural system best. In summary, we hope this survey provides an opportunity to have your voice heard and be a part of the process towards healthier soils and more sustainable farming.
The confidential survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. Participants are eligible for $25 in compensation.
Link to the survey: https://tinyurl.com/UVMsurvey