The Clean Water Act is mandating that all states tighten their water quality regulations to include small farms. Vt passed this act last year and it will go into effect in 2016. What is under discussion is exactly what is a small farm?
Have 10 acres or more in pasture and/or hay?
Have 15 or more horses?
Spread your manure?
You MAY be considered a small farm and need certification.
This may not affect you, but it MAY affect the barn where your board your horse.
The truth of the matter is - the regs are written by cow guys for cow farms. However, horses (and pigs, sheep, goats, alpacas, you name it) will be included. The basic RAP's are not a big deal for anyone, ie, manure pile not near your well or a stream, soil test every 3 years, etc. But the small farm certification is a big deal requiring a nutrient management plan. Right now the arbitrary number of horses to be a small farm is 15. We should be asking the Agency of Ag to change that to 30. If beef is 30 cows plus calves and dairy is 20 milking or 30 heifers, horse numbers should be in line.
Read the proposed RAP's at http://agriculture.vermont.gov/water-quality/regulations/rap
Your input counts! Unless the Agency of Ag hears from the horse community they will pass on these regs, as is, to the legislature.
Offer comments to Agency of AG - AGR.RAP@vermont.gov
Join VT Horse Farm Management FB page to keep abreast of these issues
12/8/2015 Heidi Krantz