Agency recommends keeping records of all on-farm irrigation activities beginning this growing season
Vermont Business Magazine Vermont farmers who abstract surface water ( definition:10 VSA § 1002(20) ) for Agriculture are encouraged to begin keeping records of irrigation events this summer if a farm is not already doing so. A new state law goes into effect today, July 1, 2022, which requires annual reporting of surface water withdrawals used for agriculture to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM). The first such annual report for eligible farmers (**see below) will be delivered to VAAFM on January 15e2023.
Vermont Agriculture is the first new sector of surface water managers to report water use to the State of Vermont based on Law 135 of 2022.
VAAFM is committed to deploying the necessary education, outreach, and technical assistance resources to help answer farmers’ questions about the new law and their responsibilities. The purpose of this law is to better understand the current demand for surface water in the state and to take all necessary steps to ensure the resilience and future availability of surface water in the face of climate change.
“Right now, the most simple and straightforward recommendation the agency can give to farmers is: ‘Keep daily records of your surface water use’; Accurate event-by-event irrigation records will ensure easy and accurate reporting when the growing season is over. Agency staff are available to help answer questions,” Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts said. Farms that use groundwater or off-stream farm ponds for agriculture are not subject to the reporting requirements of Bill 135.
**Law 135 of 2022 establishes that any farmer who:
- withdraws surface water for agriculture and uses more than 10,000 gallons of surface water in a 24 hour period, or
- 150,000 gallons or more in a 30 day period in a calendar year,
- file their first annual report with the VAAFM on January 15, 2023.
The new law establishes the following minimum information to be declared annually to the VAAFM:
- an estimate of the total quantity of water withdrawn during the previous calendar year;
- the place of withdrawals;
- the maximum daily withdrawal for each month;
- the date of each daily maximum withdrawal.
Farmers with questions about this new surface water use reporting requirement are encouraged to contact VAAFM for more information. Farmers can access a sample record keeping form that will allow for effective tracking and reporting of surface water use at: https://agriculture.vermont.gov/irrigation-reporting .
To download and print the declaration form, visit: https://agriculture.vermont.gov/irrigation-reporting
A hard copy of the form can be requested by mail to:
Vermont Agency for Agriculture, Food and Markets
Irrigation report form
c/o Ryan Patch
116 State Street, Montpellier, Vermont 05610