April news + events
Featured Farmer:
Ramsay Mellish
Cutting Hill Beef Co., West Cornwall, Vermont
In the not too distant past, Ramsay Mellish was a typical college student desperate for money.
What is perhaps less typical is the job he found to help make ends meet: Relief milker at a dairy farm near his university.
It wasn’t long before Ramsay became deeply interested in the science of dairy, and traded in the ivory towers for metal silos.
That’s right: he dropped out of college, became a farmer, and never looked back. 
What happened next? If you were to ask Ramsay, he'd tell you it's all big experiment…
Upcoming Events
Conservation Stewardship Program Assist Info Session
On April 6th, the three watershed groups along with NRCS and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture hosted a virtual informational session to help farmers learn more about accessing the federal CSP Program and the new Vermont state CSP pilot program.
The key takeaways of the session:
  • To find your local service center, Click here
  • Apply to CSP Assist with VAAFM by May 8th: Remember, existing CSP contract holders may also apply to increase their yearly payment. Click here to apply.
  • Consider signing up for a Farm Team with the Conservation Districts to get assistance with coordinating the many available grant opportunities on your farm.  If your District does not offer Farm Teams, a neighboring District will be able to assist you.
Applications for CSP Assist with VAAFM are due by May 8, 2023.
To view the recorded Zoom session, click here and when prompted, enter the passcode: $8h2LtM&
For a written format or to view a slideshow presentation, click the associated link below!
Birds, Bees, and Beneficial Bugs in Our Livestock Systems
Join UVM Extension specialists for two farm tours this summer to learn about ways to enhance bird, bee, and beneficial insect habitats in your rotational grazing systems. View the full event flyer here. Register for these free events by calling or emailing Kelsie Meehan at 802-656-4829 or Kelsie.meehan@uvm.edu.
  • Friday, June 9, 2023 | 10:00 am - 12:00 pm | Owl’s Head Farm in Richmond, VT
  • Wednesday, July 19, 2023 | 10:00 am - 12:00 pm | Rebop Farm in Brattleboro, VT
New Members
Thank you to these farms, individuals, and businesses for joining the Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition over the past month!
Class 1 - Farmers
Savage View Farm
Class 2 - Individuals
Elizabeth Mullikin
Kim Conant
Class 3 - Businesses
Pivot Bio
Interested in a membership with CVFC? There’s still time!
Grants and Funding
Grants and Funding Opportunities
Equity in Conservation Outreach
On Monday, February 27th, the US Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) announced the availability of up to $70 million for new Equity in Conservation Outreach cooperative agreements. These agreements will develop community-led conservation projects that create equitable opportunities for underserved producers and communities to receive conservation technical and financial assistance and to promote careers in natural resources. These cooperative agreements are critical to NRCS’s efforts to promote fair and equitable access to NRCS staff and NRCS programs.
Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on April 27, 2023. To learn more and to apply, click here.
Environmental Conservation (DEC) Project Development Block Grant
The Addison County Regional Planning Commission (ACRPC) is administering a 2022 Environmental Conservation (DEC) Project Development Block Grant to sub-grant funds to develop water quality improvement projects through July of 2024. Funds should be used for getting landowners, municipalities and other partners “on board” with projects to improve water quality and to move projects towards design and implementation. All project work, invoicing and reporting must be complete by July 1, 2024. Applications are due by May 5th, 2023. Click here for more information and information on how to apply. Contact Hannah Andrew with questions at handrew@acrpc.org.
Dairy Processor Expansion Grant RFA
The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) announces the availability of funds through the Existing Dairy Processor Expansion Grant program to address the significant need for investment in processing infrastructure in the Northeast. This grant will only fund existing dairy processing facilities located in the Northeast region with a focus on expanding utilization of regionally sourced milk, dairy components, and/or dairy mix, and diversifying the supply chain.
Projects funded through this grant will focus primarily on acquiring specialized equipment needed to increase processing capacity through volume expansion and existing product line expansion. Additional activities related to training, marketing, or supply chain logistics that directly support increased production capacity may be included.
Grants are available to applicants in all Northeast states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Multiple tiers of grant funding ranges will be available to processors at a variety of sizes. Processors may apply in one of three grant tiers based on their scale. Pre-applications for Tier 1 & 2 are open now through May 11, 2023 and Tier 3 applications will be open soon. To learn more and to apply, click here.
Vermont NRCS FY23 Conservation Solutions Funding Opportunity
The Vermont Department of Agriculture and the Natural Resources Conservation Service announce a funding opportunity with the intention to seek out conservation partners to provide technical services for activities related to conservation delivery assistance.
NRCS anticipates the amount of funding available for support of this program in FY2023 will be up to $1,500,000. Agreements awarded may be 1-5 years in duration. NRCS will accept applications under this notice for single or multi-year applications submitted by eligible entities.
Applicants must submit their applications via Grants.gov by 11:59 pm EST on May 27th, 2023. Click here to learn more about this funding opportunity or contact Neosha Jones at neosha.jones@usda.gov with any questions.
Farm Agronomic Practice (FAP) Program
The VAAFM Farm Agronomic Practices (FAP) Program invests state funds in soil-based agronomic practices to improve soil quality, increase crop production, and reduce erosion and surface runoff from agricultural fields.
Grant applications are currently open for spring conservation practices planned to be installed prior to June 30, 2023, including manure injection, conservation tillage, no-till pasture and hay-land renovation, and rotation of cropland into hay.
Funding is limited and available on a first-come-first-served basis, so apply now! Applications are due at least 30 days prior to implementation for all spring conservation practices. We recommend that farmers plan as far ahead as possible for implementation of agronomic practices, especially when seeking financial assistance. There is a maximum annual funding cap of $8,000 per farm operation from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023. 
View the full brochure for more information on the FAP program. Click here to apply! 
Pasture and Surface Water Fencing (PSWF) Program
Provides pasture management technical assistance and financial assistance to Vermont farmers to improve water quality and on-farm livestock exclusion from surface waters statewide. Applications accepted year-round. Click here for more information.
Grassed Waterway and Filter Strip (GWFS) Program
Provides technical and financial assistance to Vermont farmers for in-field agronomic best practices to address critical source areas, erosion, and surface runoff. The Program’s goal is to reduce soil erosion and improve soil and water quality on cropland that contributes a disproportionately high level of nutrients in runoff. Such areas of cropland are considered “Critical Source Areas” (CSAs), representing a small proportion of the landscape yet a high proportion of non-point source pollution loads. Applications accepted year-round. Click here for more information.
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
A voluntary program designed to reduce sediment runoff and improve water quality by removing land from agricultural production and establishing vegetative buffers. State and federal funds are used to compensate landowners for the loss of productive agricultural land through upfront incentive payments and annual rental payments based on the total acreage dedicated to vegetated filter strips, forested buffers, or grassed waterways. Applications accepted year-round. Click here for more information.
Community Recovery and Revitalization Program (CRRP)
The CRRP will provide funding for projects that make capital improvements or capital expansions that were delayed due to the negative economic impacts of COVID-19. Eligible uses for these funds include the development of affordable housing, improvements to or new construction of childcare facilities, projects for nonprofits and small businesses in impacted industries*, and municipal water supply and wastewater projects. These recovery funds are intended to retain and expand existing businesses and nonprofit organizations with a preference for projects located in regions and communities with declining or stagnant grand list values. The application is now open and will remain open until all funds are allocated. Click here for more information.
Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
The program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Agricultural producers may also apply for new energy efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing. Applications accepted year-round. Click here for more information. Contact Tracy Rexford with any questions regarding REAP at  tracy.rexford@usda.gov.

Thank You to Our Partners!
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Our mission to assist all farmers in implementing innovative agricultural practices that enhance water quality, soil health, climate smart farming, and their economic resiliency in the Champlain Valley is generously supported by the 
We are also grateful for the kind support of our business members!
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