Our challenge is to find a path forward in Vermont agriculture that allows for food production while protecting water quality. Agriculture dominates Vermont’s working landscape in many parts of the state and is also important to the state’s economy, both directly and indirectly. Similarly, our natural resources, including clean water, are why many people live in Vermont or come to visit, fueling the tax base and the tourism economy. At the present moment, agriculture is experiencing an explosion of momentum around the concept of “soil health,” a steep escalation in concerns and investments in water quality, and an intensification of the confounding effects of climate change. We will need to use common sense, the power of community, respect, sound science, and creativity to successfully navigate the dynamic intersection of these tightly interwoven factors.
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