Announcement

Sunflower Viewing & Picking in Georgia, VT

FWA Director, Scott Magnan, is welcoming guests to visit his sunflower fields on Wilder Drive in Georgia this week through Sunday!

To visit is free though donations are appreciated. Sunflowers are available to pick for $5/flower.

Please respect those they share the road with, park by the machinery and read the sign posted at the entry to their land.

Call Scott at 363-7707 to set up a time to visit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VHCB 2018 Grant Opportunities for Farmers!

Are you a farmer seeking funding to help complete a capital improvement project on your farm?

The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, a program of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, has grant funds available for farmers!

Eligible farmers can apply for Water Quality Grants or Dairy Improvement Grants, both of which provide grants of $5,000 to $40,000.  Matching funds are required for both programs and may include federal or state grants as well as cash or loans.  VHCB will hold three competitive grant rounds, with the first upcoming deadline on August 13, 2018.  Application materials will be available on their website by the end of June.

 

Visit the links below for more information!

  

 

Conservation Road Signs “For My Land, For Our Water”

Do the people driving down your road recognize cover cropping when they see it?  Do they notice a field where “no-till” planting is building soil health?  Do they appreciate the importance of growing permanent grass, especially on our most vulnerable soils?

New roadside signs developed by the Franklin County Conservation District (website hyperlinked) are available to celebrate examples of such conservation practices!  The tag-line, “For my land, for our water” conveys the benefits the landowner sees in soil health, stream-bank stabilization, and crop productivity, as well as the water quality benefits that everyone appreciates.

The FWA purchased 65 signs to give to our members for free!  30 for cover cropping, 20 for growing grass, and 15 for no-till.  These signs will be distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis – so please email us at FarmersWatershedAllianceNW@gmail.com if you would like some signs for your fields!

Placement and storage considerations:

  • Place signs more than 14 feet from the white line of any state roads or they will be picked up by the state highway crews. Restrictions on town roads may vary.
  • Place your signs where they will be visible from the road, and not blocked by growing vegetation.
  • Remove and store your signs when the practice you are advertising is no longer obviously visible (e.g. cover crop has been terminated.)
  • Remove and store your signs before winter. With proper care, signs should last two or more seasons.
  • Take a picture with the sign, the practice you are promoting (and yourself, if you wish!) and send it to FranklinCountyNRCD@gmail.com and/or FarmersWatershedAllianceNW@gmail.com. Your pictures will be used to further promote the good work farmers are doing.

Product specs:

  • 18” x 24”
  • Double-sided
  • Full color
  • Wire H-frame stake included
  • UV-resistant

 

UVM Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Team 10th Annual Field Day!

Please come join us at Borderview Research Farm on July 27th for UVM Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Team 10th annual field day!  Please let us know if you can come by registering here online: www.regonline.com/2017cropsfieldday

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FWA Seeks Program Coordinator Applications

Position Summary:  The Farmer’s Watershed Alliance (FWA) seeks a Program Coordinator to join our organization in St. Albans.  The FWA is a trusted farmer run and lead organization based in Franklin and Grande Isle Counties.  The preferred applicant will be responsible for coordinating and advertising outreach events, generating outreach materials, fundraising, managing membership, and representing Farmer’s Watershed Alliance online and in public. This person will have a high level of interpersonal communication skills.  A background in agriculture is preferred.  Enthusiasm is essential. Compensation starts at $15.50/hour.

Please send cover letter and resume by June 5th to: FarmersWatershedAllianceNW@gmail.com                                                                        Subject line: Farmer’s Watershed Alliance Program Coordinator.

FWA Annual Meeting Invitation

You are invited to attend the Farmer’s Watershed Alliance Annual Meeting!

Right click on the image above to go to Google Maps.

 

Date: Monday, March 20th, 2017

Where: St Albans Elks Lodge (44 Gricebrook Rd.)

Agenda:

5:30- Happy Half Hour sponsored by Cargill

6:00- Welcome

6:30- Dinner (provided by the FWA)

7:00- State leaders highlight water quality initiatives

8:30- Final Remarks and Closing

For more information or to RSVP please contact Lindsey Ruhl by e-mail at FarmersWatershedAllianceNW@gmail.com or by phone (802) 524-6501 ext. 443.

We look forward to seeing you!

Request for Proposal

The Request for Proposals can be downloaded here. The Vermont NRCS 340 Standards outlining NRCS approved cover cropping standards can be downloaded here.

Request for Proposals

The Farmers Watershed Alliance is Seeking Proposals to Source Seed for Farms Cover Cropping in Summer/Early Fall 2015

Proposals Due July 1, 2015

Selected Vendor will be Notified July 2, 2015.

The Farmer’s Watershed Alliance is collaborating on a NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant to demonstrate the feasibility and efficacy of interseeding cover crops into corn. Interseeding will be completed either prior to canopy closure or at least one month prior to harvest. The Farmer’s Watershed Alliance and collaborating farm members are seeking a vendor to provide specific cover crop mixes for this project. This request for proposals is to solicit a business that can provide specific cover crop seed mixes as indicated below in 50# bags and has the ability to deliver the seed to farms during the aforementioned project period.

The bid request should include the cost of the seed for each mix listed below with the expectation that the seed will be delivered in 50# bags to each respective farm. The vendor must be able to deliver the seed to farms located in Franklin and Orleans County. We expect to begin seeding cover crops in mid-July.

Here is a list of the seed blends, ratios, acres to be seeded, and total pounds of seed for each blend:

1. Annual Rye/Radish Mix: Annual Rye 20# (83%), Radish 4# (16%)/acre                                 Acres: 613      Seed Needed: 14,750 lbs

2. Winter Rye/Radish Mix: Winter Rye 85# (95%), Radish 4# (5%)/acre                                     Acres: 599      Seed Needed: 53,350 lbs

3. Winter Rye/White Clover/Radish: WR 60# (85%), WC 6# (8%), Radish 4# (6%)/acre                Acres: 235      Seed Needed: 16,450 lbs

4. Annual Rye/White Clover: Annual Rye 15# (65%) White Clover 8# (35%)/acre                      Acres: 50        Seed Needed:  1,150 lbs

5. Winter Rye/Oats/Radish: Winter Rye 45# (50%) Oats 40# (44%) Radish (5%)/acre                Acres: 140      Seed Needed: 12,500 lbs

6. Annual Rye: 30#/acre                                                                                                                                Acres: 50        Seed Needed: 1,500 lbs

7. Winter Rye: 110#/acre                                                                                                                                     Acres: 615      Seed Needed: 67,650 lbs

8. Winter Rye: 75#/acre                                                                                                                                       Acres: 110      Seed Needed: 8,250 lbs

9. Annual Rye/Canola: Annual Rye 20# (83%) Canola 4# (16%)/acre                                                     Acres: 50       Seed Needed: 1,200 lbs

10. Oats/Radish: Oats 85# (95%) Radish 4# (5%)/acre                                                                               Acres: 150     Seed Needed: 9,800 lbs

11. Annual Rye/Radish: 15# (84%) Radish 3#(16%)                                                                                       Acres: 56       Seed Needed: 1,050 lbs

12. Winter Rye/White Clover/Radish: WR 40#(85%) WC 5# (8%) Radish 2# (6%)                               Acres: 20       Seed Needed: 950 lbs

Total Seed Needed:       188,600 Pounds of Seed

The seed mixes and seeding rates listed above were selected to meet the NRCS 340 Cover Cropping Standard and cannot be reduced. However the seeding rates could be slightly higher if needed.

The seed will need to be delivered to individual farms located in Franklin and Orleans County. The farm locations and blends needed on farms will be provided to the selected vendor.

All seed will need to be blended, bagged, tagged, and delivered prior to seeding which is scheduled to start in Mid-July.   The key is to meet NRCS seeding specifications and deadlines. Please refer to the 340 standard for clarification.

Payment for seed will be Net 30 days from delivery.

To apply for the contract please provide seed costs for each mix listed above. Also please indicate in the proposal the ability for your company to deliver the seed in 50# bags to each participating farm in Franklin/Orleans County.

All proposals should be mailed to:

Farmer’s Watershed Alliance

c/o Lindsey Ruhl

278 S. Main Street, Ste. 2

St. Albans, VT 05478

Or emailed to farmerswatershedallianceNW@gmail.com

Please contact the Farmer’s Watershed Coordinator, Lindsey Ruhl, with the e-mail address above or call (802) 524-6501 x445 with any questions.

Vermont Water Quality Bill Signed

ShumlinSigningOn June 16, Governor Shumlin signed H.35 into law. H.35 is a state bill that addresses water quality concern in Lake Champlain. Gov. Shumlin spoke about the collective effort it took to pass the bill and the collective effort it will take from all sectors- homeowners, municipalities, and farmers- to make the bill effective.

FWA’s Co-Chair, Larry Gervais affirmed Franklin and Grand Isle County farmer’s willingness to implement practices that protect Vermont’s water quality. FWA’s Chair, Darlene Reynolds, thanked all who work toward improving out state’s water quality with a special mention of FWA’s founder, Roger Rainville.

LarryGervaisSpeaking                                                                             DarleneReynoldsSpeaking

 

The Farmer’s Watershed Alliance Received an Environmental Merit Award from the EPA

EPA Awards 3 Environmental Merit Awards to Vermont Recipients

(Boston, Mass:  April 22, 2014) Today, the U.S. EPA recognized three organizations and/or individuals from Vermont at the 2014 Environmental Merit Awards ceremony. The Vermont awardees were among 26 recipients across New England honored for contributing to improving New England’s environment.

Each year EPA’s New England office recognizes individuals and groups whose work has protected or improved the region’s environment in distinct ways. The merit awards, given out since 1970, honor individuals and groups who have shown particular ingenuity and commitment in their efforts.

“We extend our congratulations and gratitude to this year’s Environmental Merit Award winners, who are helping to ensure a cleaner environment and healthier communities here in New England,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “In addition to iconic natural beauty and vibrant communities, New England is fortunate to have citizens who care deeply about the environment we share.”

The 2014 Environmental Merit Awards program was dedicated to Ira Leighton, former deputy regional administrator for EPA New England’s office who died in 2013 after 41 years of service to EPA.

“Ira truly loved the Environmental Merit Award ceremonies and deeply appreciated the environmental stewardship and commitment of citizens across New England,” said Spalding.

The Environmental Merit Awards, which are given to people who have already taken action, are awarded in the categories of individual; business (including professional organizations); local, state or federal government; and environmental, community, academia or nonprofit organization. Also, each year EPA presents lifetime achievement awards for individuals. The Environmental Merit Award Winners from Vermont listed by category are:

Enviro/Community/Academia/Nonprofit

Farmers’ Watershed Alliance 
Vermont

The Farmers’ Watershed Alliance is a non-profit, dairy farmer-based organization in northern Vermont’s Franklin and Grand Isle counties.  The Alliance was established, in collaboration with the University of Vermont Extension, to promote good environmental stewardship practices and improve water quality in the Lake Champlain Basin.  The Alliance is a wonderful example of the power of peer-to-peer networks.  Its founders understood that farmers are more likely to accept help and advice, and sometimes a challenge, from their fellow farmers.
 
Dairy farmers continually face fluctuating milk prices, increasing fuel and fertilizer costs, and expensive technologies and management practices to minimize pollution problems coming from farm production areas and fields.  This organization is helping to bridge the gap between farmers wanting to do the right thing to prevent impacts to water quality but feeling uncertain about where to turn to for education, technical assistance, and financial resources.  The Alliance shares information and uses demonstration projects to show farmers how they can address water quality problems.  It can help farmers identify environmental risks on their farm and develop an action plan specific to those risks. The Alliance helps organize training sessions with the University of Vermont Extension and engages in discussions about water quality challenges and opportunities with federal and state agencies.

The Farmers’ Watershed Alliance’s success in farmer-to-farmer collaboration has led to the formation of the Champlain Valley Farmers Coalition, a sister organization, made up of farmers in the middle and southern portions of Lake Champlain Basin, interested in promoting sustainable agricultural practices.  These networks are playing an important role in shaping Vermont’s plans to restore Lake Champlain.

Individual

Pixley Tyler Hill and Ted Tyler
Highgate Springs, Vermont
Pixley Tyler Hill and her brother Ted Tyler are co-owners of the Tyler Place Family Resort in Highgate Springs, north of Burlington on Lake Champlain.  The resort’s history spans six generations from an 1800’s tenting community to the family destination of today.  Generations of visitors first learned the beauty of Lake Champlain with the Tyler family. Pixley and Ted are also well known as fierce and tenacious advocates for protecting Lake Champlain from nonpoint sources of pollution.  Pixley is the founder of the influential watershed organization Friends of Northern Lake Champlain, formerly named Friends of Missisquoi Bay. Pixley and Ted’s commitment to Lake Champlain extends beyond the north lake and Vermont, as they have both served as a long-time member of the Lake Champlain Committee which serves Vermont and New York. Ted served for nearly a decade on the Vermont Citizens Advisory Committee on the Future of Lake Champlain, a governor appointed committee tasked with crafting annual recommendations for lake protection.  When Ted’s turn was over, Vermont Governor Shumlin appointed Pixley to the seat he long-held by her brother. Perhaps, one of the most epic enjoyable events Pixley is known for is the Annual Tyler Place Event.  For the past 10 years, the Tyler family has generously and graciously hosted an annual dinner at their own expense for hundreds of lake advocates in the northern lake from Vermont, New York and Quebec to discuss lake issues with legislators, researchers, citizen advocates, shoreline landowners, and many more.  The Vermont Governor has often attended these events.

Business/Industry/Trade or Professional

SunCommon  
Duane Peterson and James Moore, co-Presidents
Waterbury, Vt.

It all started with a pilot project within the Vermont Public Interest Research Group.  VPIRG Energy was created to make it easy and affordable for Vermonters yearning for sustainable energy sources for themselves.  Within a year they helped 300 families to go solar. They knew they had a business model that worked but also realized that to scale it up to serve many more Vermonters they would need a separate entity and investment capital, and so SunCommon was born in early 2012.  Their mission: to tear down the barriers that made renewable energy inaccessible and repower Vermont communities, one home, school and business at a time.

In two short years SunCommon has grown to become Vermont’s largest residential solar business, helping over 700 Vermont homeowners to go solar. SunCommon’s commitment to positive environmental impact runs throughout its business process. Its headquarters are in The Energy Mill, Vermont’s largest “net zero” office building. SunCommon is also a pioneering Benefit Corporation, with a legal charter that directs them to attend to the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. Benefit Corporations put their investors, employees,  and neighbors  on notice that while they intend to make a profit so that they can grow their business, they also will do right by their workers, the communities in which they operate and the habitats that sustain them.

Recently, 92 companies worldwide were recognized for creating the most positive overall social and environmental impact by the nonprofit B Lab with the release of the third annual B Corp Best for the World list.  The list honors businesses that earned an overall score in the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment, a rigorous and comprehensive assessment of a company’s impact on its workers, community and the environment.

Leighton “In Service to States” Award
The Ira Leighton “In Service to States” Environmental Merit Award was initiated by several environmental groups and EPA New England. The groups involved were the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission, the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association and the New England state Environmental Commissioners, along with EPA.

The award went to Ken Kimmell, who worked at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection from 2011 to March 2014 and before that as General Counsel at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs from 2007 through 2011. During that time, Kimmell demonstrated a stellar record protecting the environment, proactively addressing climate change, promoting sustainability and innovation, and advancing clean energy technology at the state, regional, and local levels.

FWA Says Goodbye to Founder and Long-Time Chair

The Farmer’s Watershed Alliance of Franklin and Grand Isle Counties would like to express our sincere appreciation to Roger Rainville; our Founder and Chair.  His vision of getting farmers together and working on water quality issues, first came together in 2006.  Since then the FWA has courageously worked toward finding productive common
senses solutions for farmers.  Roger has worked with NRCS, Dept. of Agriculture, legislative parties, and many local water quality groups; to educate them about farming and the abilities of the agricultural community to assist in solving on farm issues.  Roger’s countless hours and hard work can be seen through the accomplishments of the FWA.  At this time Roger has decided to leave the FWA to pursue other passions.  We wish him all the best!