Chapter 2: Goals & Data

Goal 6: Farms and other food system operations will improve their overall environmental stewardship to deliver a net environmental benefit to the state.

Agricultural runoff (e.g., manure, fertilizer) is one of the sources of phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain, which drives blue-green algae blooms that can produce toxins that are harmful to humans and other animals. A recent study of the Missisquoi Bay Basin found that fields planted in permanent corn or corn-hay rotations were predominantly responsible for phosphorus loading in “Critical Source Areas” flowing into the lake. 

Data from the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) shows that agricultural activities are responsible for a majority of phosphorus runoff into Missisquoi Bay, a portion of the southern lake, and around Isle La Motte. Additional data shows that agricultural activities are a major cause of river and stream impairment and that agriculture is the second largest user of pesticides.

We also show that the number of certified organic producers in Vermont has increased 650% from 1993 to 2013, and the amount of certified organic land has increased 550%. In fact, Vermont ranks first in the country for organic farms as a percentage of total farms!

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