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Classes, Soil Tests Offered For Vt. Livestock Farmers

Woodstock — Livestock farmers who enroll in a nutrient management class can receive free soil and manure sampling from Vermont Conservation Districts this summer. Organizers hope to hear from interested Orange and Windsor county residents by May 15 in order to plan the sampling schedule.

The courses, which will take place next winter, include “NMP 101.” An introduction to nutrient management plans, it will cover the plans’ components and what’s involved in developing one. Another class, University of Vermont Extension’s full nutrient management course for farmers, covers the economic and environmental importance of the plans, and how to develop and implement them.

Farms that implement the plans reduce their fertilizer costs by 23 percent, on average, the White River Natural Resources Conservation District said in a recent news release.

“Currently, medium and large farms are required to have NMPs, but more small farms are taking advantage of this opportunity to improve their agronomics and protect waterways near their farms,” the conservation district said. The plans “can help farms optimize yield goals, minimize inputs and reduce the potential of water quality impacts from nutrient runoff.”

The White River and Ottauquechee natural resources conservation districts will offer the program to farmers in Orange and Windsor counties. The costs and location of the classes have not yet been not set. Interested farmers should call Mary Childs at 802-295-7942, ext. 112, or email her at whiteriverNRCD@gmail.com.

The conservation districts can also provide information about funding opportunities to support the development of an NMP or other conservation practices. — Staff report