A Letter from Farm to Plate Director Jake Claro to the Vermont General Assembly and Governor Phil Scott: This year’s Vermont Farm to Plate Annual Report features highlights of key projects from 2019, including grass-fed beef industry development, local planning for food access, wholesale markets, and small-scale on-farm composting. You will also see…
Download 3.7: Nutrient Management (PDF 12MB)
The goals of nutrient management are to provide sufficient nutrients for crop or animal growth throughout their life cycle, while minimizing the negative impacts of nutrient losses into the environment.
With the passage of Act 148 and the impending implementation of a new Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) – the daily nutrient budget for a body of water – for Lake Champlain, Vermont is on the cusp of a dramatic and comprehensive shift in the way its citizens will relate to and manage nutrients. Vermonters throw away upwards of 60,000 tons of food scraps per year, but Act 148 stipulates that all food scraps will be diverted from landfills by 2020 via source reduction, food rescue, food for animals, composting, and energy production. The Food Cycle Coalition is developing strategies to develop the necessary infrastructure and engage the public on this major transition away from waste management toward nutrient management.
Despite notable productivity gains that have occurred with the introduction of manufactured inorganic fertilizers, concerns have emerged over the negative impacts of nutrient losses into the environment from over-applied and mismanaged fertilizer. In Vermont, the primary source of crop nutrients is actually an organic fertilizer, animal manure, that is commonly integrated into the nutrient cycle on Vermont farms (e.g., spreading on corn fields). The combination of manure and fertilizer runoff, along with soil erosion and livestock access to waterways, have been implicated in the pollution of Lake Champlain and other waterways. Effective and efficient nutrient management has, consequently, become an issue that is critical to not only farm productivity and profitability, particularly as fertilizer costs increase and availability of phosphate rock declines, but ecosystem health.
Many challenges lie ahead to reduce phosphorus pollution from farmland, but there is also a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate that farm viability and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive pursuits. A wide variety of incentive programs are available to encourage best practices, but a more concise, synthesized menu of incentive options should be developed for farmers to make it easier to understand the financial incentives of a program and select the options that are best suited to their farm.
What infrastructure will be needed to achieve the goals of Act 148? What kinds of management options and incentives are available to farms that can maintain productivity and simultaneously protect the environment? This section explores these questions and many others.
In a state known for its robust agricultural economy, many Vermonters still face serious challenges and barriers to getting food, particularly, fresh, healthy food that is affordable. The new toolkit Local Planning for Food Access aims to help Vermont towns, cities, and regions increase access to food. Released in November…
Story and photography by Erica Houskeeper. Original version appears at Happy Vermont's website. All it takes is flour, butter, salt, and water to make a pie crust. But it takes a community to make a difference. Pies for People, now in its eleventh year, is a community-building initiative that brings together volunteers, gleaned local…
By Dominique Giroux, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, & Markets Prevention versus reaction. For the produce industry, these words have become the backbone of a federal regulation that shifts the focus of our national food safety system from responding to foodborne illness to preventing it. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)…
Strategies and Opportunities for Greater Local Food Procurement in Vermont Higher Education Food Service Written by Jennie Porter Institutions represent a unique opportunity in Vermont to increase access to local foods because they serve many meals a day to a wide range of people, and they can help to increase consumer awareness…
Gathering the Herd: A Vermont Meat Processing Case Study captures lessons learned over a three year period from the Farm to Plate Meat Processing Task Force through interviews conducted by Carrie Abels with members of the task force and industry leaders. The Meat Processing Task Force within the Farm to Plate…
Written by Celia Riechel Maple syrup and outdoor adventure may have put Vermont on the map, but increasingly, breweries are showcasing the best of the Green Mountain State. Vermont is at the forefront of a nationwide growth trend in the craft beer industry, ranking 1st in number of breweries and production…
Written By Amy Overstreet Here in Vermont, wetlands help filter polluted runoff that could otherwise carry chemicals and bacteria into Lake Champlain and other waterbodies. But, half of the world's wetlands have disappeared since 1900. Development continues to pose threats to wetlands, even though their value and importance are obvious. Here in…
Written by Mark Cannella Published in Vermont's Local Banquet Small farms in Vermont contribute tremendous value to our evolving food system by being nimble enough to respond to shifting consumer demand quickly. Small farms have pioneered niche products, such as multi-variety mesclun mixes and hybrid CSA memberships. They are engaged in cutting-edge production…
Written by Julie Smith, UVM Extension, Animal and Veterinary Sciences and Ted Ferris, MSU Extension, Animal Science The first Vermont Breakfast on the Farm event gave consumers and farm neighbors a first-hand look at modern food production. Hosted by Nea-Tocht Farm in Ferrisburgh in August 2015, the event was organized and…
Perhaps long ago, in a simpler world, farmers needed only tools, the support of helping hands, a market for their products, and advice from their neighbors to successfully grow vegetables and raise animals. But farmers today need a lot more than that. Complex equipment, well-designed facilities, marketing skills, and a…
Tony Brault has cut things all his life, everything except his own hair, and he’s so busy lately, he hasn’t gotten around to letting someone else at it. One of his earliest memories as a kid in the Northeast Kingdom is “standing on an overturned soda crate, cutting meat beside…
Prepared by Alex DePillis, Senior Agricultural Development Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets Highlights: 100 kW of installed capacity ● ≈150,000 kWh generated annually ● Unique partnership with Green Mountain Power facilitates community-scale wind energy installation Download the pdf. The Audet Family has operated Blue Spruce Farm since 1958 and currently…
1. Vermont Resources
- Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, State of Vermont Waste Composition Study, Final Report, May 2013.
- Universal Recyling Timeline
- Universal Recycling Summary Sheet
- Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, "Vermont Ecosystem Restoration Program 2011 Annual Report," February 1, 2012.
- DSM Environmental Services, INC., "Systems Analysis of the Impact of Act 148 on Solid Waste Management in Vermont," prepared for Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, October 21, 2013.
2. Food Waste
- Amanda D. Cuellar and Michael E. Webber, "Wasted Food, Wasted Energy: The Embedded Energy in Food Waste in the United States," Environmental Science & Technology, 2010, 44(16): 6464-6469.
- Jean C. Buzby and Jeffrey Hyman, "Total and Per Capita Value of Food Loss in the United States," Food Policy, 37 (2012): 561-570.
- Jenny Gustavsson et al., Global Food Losses and Food Waste: Extent Causes and Prevention, 2011, Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
- Samara Joy Nielsen and Barry M. Popkin, "Patterns and Trends in Food Portion Sizes, 1977-1998," The Journal of the American Medical Association, 289(4)(2009): 450-453.
- Natural Resources Defense Council, "Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill," August, 2012.
- WRAP, "Consumer insight: date labels and storage guidance," May, 2011.
- Athena Bradley, Marketing On-Farm Compost for Sustainability and Economic Viability, Northeast SARE, 2012.
- Brenda Platt, Bobby Bell, and Cameron Harsh, "Pay Dirt: Composting in Maryland to Reduce Waste, Create Jobs, & Protect the Bay," Institute for Local Self-Reliance, May 2013.
- E. A. Greene et al., "Vermont Horses vs. Twisted Tomatoes: A Compost Case Study," Journal of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, 6(1), May 2013.
- Frederick C. Michael Jr. and Douglas Doohan, "Clopyralid and Other Pesticides in Composts," The Ohiio State University Extension FactSheet, 2003.
4. On Farm Nutrient Management
- L. E. Drinkwater and S. S. Snapp, "Nutrients in Agroecosystems: Rethinking the Management Paradigm," Advances in Agronomy, (92), 2007.
- R. L. Mulvaney, S. A. Khan, and T.R. Ellsworth, "Synthetic Nitrogen Fertilizers Deplete Soil Nitrogen: A Global Dilemma For Sustainable Cereal Production," Journal of Environmental Quality, (38), November-December 2009.
- "J. Farley, A. F. Schmitt, J. Alvez, and N. J. Ribeiro de Freitas Jr., "How Valuing Nature Can Transform Agriculture," Solutions, 2(6), 2012: 64-73.
- S. R. Carpenter et al., "Nonpoint Pollution of Surface Waters with Phosphorus and Nitrogen," Ecological Applications, (8)(3), August 1998: 559-568.
- Adam S. Davis et al., "Increasing Cropping System Diversity Balances Productivity, Profitability and Environmental Health," PLoS ONE, 7(10), 2012.
- George Boody et al., "Multifunctional Agriculture in the United States," BioScience, (55)(1), January 2005.
- Alexandra Bot and Jose Benites, "The importance of soil organic matter: Key to drought-resistant soil and sustained food production," FAO Soils Bulletin (80), 2005.
- Swaminathan, B and K.E. Sukalac, "Technology Transfer and Mitigation of Climate Change: The fertilizer industry perspective." Presented at the IPCC Expert Meeting on Industrial Technology Development, Transfer and Diffusion, Tokyo, Japan, 21-23 Sept. 2004
- Standardized Food Scraps Universal Recycling Symbol jpg 703K
- Standardized Recycling Universal Recycling Symbol jpg 737K
- Standardized Trash Universal Recycling Symbol jpg 416K
- Figure 3.7.1: Act 148 Diversion Hierarchy jpg 123K
- Figure 3.7.2: Vermont's Municipal Solid Waste Generation and Diversion, 2002 to 2011 jpg 529K
- Figure 3.7.3: Vermont's Disposed Municipal Solid Waste Composition, 2012 jpg 329K
- Table 3.7.1: Total Food Scrap Generation Estimates (Tons) jpg 186K
- Figure 3.7.4: Vermont Per Capita Waste Generation, 2005 to 2011 jpg 80K
- Figure 3.7.5: Projected Source Reduction, 2014 to 2022 jpg 117K
- Table 3.7.2: Food Rescued from Vermont Food Enterprises, 2011 to 2013 (Tons) jpg 94K
- Figure 3.7.6: Current Food Rescue vs Projected Food Rescue, 2013 to 2022 jpg 151K
- Figure 3.7.7: Current and Projected Backyard Composting, 2013 to 2020 jpg 161K
- Figure 3.7.8: Existing vs Needed Food Scrap Processing Capacity jpg 147K
- Table 3.7.4: Vermont Compost Regulations and Exemptions jpg 447K
- Table 3.7.4: Vermont Compost Regulations and Exemptions (Act 250) jpg 319K
- Table 3.7.5: Agriculturally Impaired Waters, 2008 to 2012 jpg 104K
- Figure 3.7.10: Impaired and Stressed River and Stream Miles, 2008 to 2012 jpg 127K
- Table 3.7.6: Enrolled CREP Acres, 2002 to 2012 jpg 221K
- Table 3.7.7: EQIP Contracts, Acres, and Financial Obligations, 2009 to 2012 jpg 154K
- Table 3.7.8: CSP Contracts, Acres, and Financial Obligations, 2009 to 2012 jpg 112K
- Table 3.7.9: AAP Inspections and Violations, 2010 to 2011 jpg 119K
- Table 3.7.10: MFO Inspections and Violations, 2010 to 2011 jpg 112K
- Table 3.7.11: LFO Inspections and Violations, 2010 to 2011 jpg 115K
- Table 3.7.12: BMP Expenditures, 2008 to 2011 jpg 125K
- Table 3.7.13: SFO Best Management Practices Cost and Needs Estimate jpg 239K
- Table 3.7.14: MFO Best Management Practices Cost and Needs Estimate jpg 221K
- Table 3.7.15: LFO Best Management Practices Cost and Needs Estimate jpg 215K
- Table 3.7.16: FAP Acres Enrolled and Financial Commitments by Practice, 2007 to 2011 jpg 506K
- Table 3.7.17: NMPIG Acres and Dollars Granted, 2005 to 2013 jpg 222K
- Table 3.7.18: Non-Dairy Livestock Manure Generation jpg 187K
- Table 3.7.19: Animal Manure Available for Anaerobic Digesters or Composting jpg 215K