Grant program to help clean water efforts


**Grant program open until November**

MONTPELIER, VT- A grant program by the Vermont Department of Agriculture is now open to farmers, custom applicators, non-profits, and phosphorus separation equipment providers.

The grant program is called CEAP, which stands for the Capital Equipment Assistance Program. A grant program that provides grants to farmers and other organizations for equipment that helps farmers and ultimately, the state.

It’s all in an effort to improve water quality for the whole state. The equipment will help do things like reduce greenhouse gases and eliminate waste from farms into state waters.

David DeFreest is a fourth generation farmer and has been farming all of his life. He knows all about it, including the expenses.

“Farming in general is so capitally intensive and there’s just so many things that we need but only so much that we can afford every year,” said DeFreest.

David DeFreece took part in CEAP last year and it has helped his farm ever since.

“It offers financial assistance to Vermont farms to reduce runoff of agricultural waste into surface water,” said Nina Gage, agricultural water quality specialist.

“We are on a pretty hilly farm and we are up in the mountains and because of that a lot of water tends to run downhill and so us having this drill and putting in a cover crop every year helps to prevent that soil erosion and keeps everything in place where it’s supposed to be.”

Farming equipment can be expensive and farmers are happy to have help from the state they are also happy to help contribute to making the environment healthier.

“In Vermont we are taking this big initiative as a state to have clean water. A big part of that is not working the soil and keeping it healthy with organic matter and the nutrients that you get from not tilling and disturbing the ground.”

With the help of CEAP David purchased a no till drill which helps leave crop residue on the surface and out of soil and water runoff. 

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture says proper agriculture is a huge factor in clean water.

“Agriculture provides the state to provide nutrient reductions. The more we invest in farmers the more we can get clean water for the state,” said Gage.

Applicants are limitied to one application per farm or organization.  The maximum funding rates vary depending on the type of equipment. The application process will be open until November with winners announced in February.

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