VHCB Water Quality Grants Available for Vermont Farms

For Immediate Release

Contact: Liz Gleason, Viability Program Director, VHCB 802-828-3370; @email 

Montpelier, Vt - The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program (Viability Program), a program of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, has grant awards available for on-farm capital improvement projects that have a positive impact on water quality. The awards are funded through the State of Vermont Water Quality Bond, and eligible farm businesses can apply for $5,000 to $50,000 in funding, an increase in the maximum award from prior years. Applications are due by January 19, 2024.

Viability Program staff are hosting two virtual information sessions to answer questions on Friday, December 8 from 12 pm to 1:30 pm and Monday, January 8 from 3:30 pm to 5 pm. More information, eligibility requirements, applications, and details to join the information sessions are available on the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program Website at: https://vhcb.org/WQG.

Water Quality Grants support farmers to make capital improvements that reduce non-point source pollution through projects that improve manure and nutrient management. These projects aim to advance Vermont’s water quality goals and also support the long-term success of farm enterprises. Construction, renovation, and equipment projects are eligible. The grants assist with the costs of improvements required to comply with regulations.

These awards can fill the financial gaps for projects that may not qualify for other funding sources. Additionally, they serve as an important complement to existing state and federal water quality programs, such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (NRCS-EQIP) and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture’s Best Management Practices (BMP) and Capital Equipment Assistance (CEAP) Programs, with a particular emphasis on prioritizing projects that have already applied for or secured state or federal funds.

Severy Farm LLC, a 100% grass-fed organic dairy in Cornwall, demonstrates the transformative upgrades made possible through the support of such funding. After completing a successful transfer of the farm from Nate’s father in 2021, Nate and Kerianne Severy knew it was time to update their infrastructure to better suit their scale and land, located in the Champlain Valley and surrounded by the Cornwall Swamp Management Area. In 2022, with the support of a VHCB Water Quality Grant and funds from the VT Agency of Agriculture Food and Market’s Best Management Program, they built a pit to store their milkhouse and barnyard waste.

“The new pit has been a huge improvement to our operation. We’re capturing our on-farm nutrients and it’s meant a substantial impact on our farm’s water quality, especially during a summer this wet”

For questions regarding this grant opportunity, please contact: Betsy McGavisk at @email or 802-828-5562.

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The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program provides business planning, technical assistance, and ownership transfer planning to farm, food and forest products businesses. For more information about the Viability Program, please visit www.vhcb.org/viability.

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