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Corn Field Barn

Board Members

Chair: Scott Magnan, Scott Magnan’s Custom Service

Vice Chair: Larry Gervais, Gervais Family Farm

Secretary/Treasurer: Heather Darby, UVM Extension

Interim Program Coordinators:

Lauren Weston & Kate Wettergreen

Franklin County NRCD

Directors:

Wayne Fiske, Windfall Acres
Steve Hardy, L.D. Oliver Seed Co.
Tim Magnant, Bridgeman View Farm
Nick Manning, Manning Dairy
Rolland Rainville, Roll Land Farm
Jeffrey Sanders, UVM Extension
Dan Larivee

The Franklin and Grand Isle Farmers Watershed Alliance (FWA) started forming in 2005. They recognized that there were environmental issues on farms and knew that farmers could solve problems on their own if they had the necessary knowledge, funding, and trust. 

 

Founding members of the FWA wanted to form an organization that would bring together farmers to find positive solutions.  In 2006, the FWA gathered signatures and became a 501c5 organization and became the first of now three active farmer watershed groups in Vermont. 

 

For many years, the FWA received state funding to complete projects on farms. Working with partners and farmers, the FWA was able to complete over 40 meaningful projects to improve water quality and document the progress made to state funders, without pointing blame. Some examples of projects include laneways, fencing off waterways, clean water diversions, mortality composting, and manure pumps, along with equipment like Aerways that farms could utilize. Aerators were implemented on over 14,000 acres and UVM Extension has continued this work in more recent years. 

 

Through this work, FWA was able to build trust and connect with farmers that were hesitant to work with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM), USDA-NRCS, and other agencies to get necessary work done that otherwise would likely have not been completed. They continued to pursue projects with the philosophy that they should start with the most significant water quality problems, address those, and the rest will follow. 

 

Around 2011, the FWA started to administer a program that has now become the VAAFM Farm Agronomic Practices (FAP) Program to pay farmers to implement cover cropping practices. 

 

In more recent years, FWA has focused on education and advocacy.  Currently, the FWA board members hold seats on a number of working groups and are engaged with the work happening in the Vermont legislature. In addition, the FWA is focused on bringing farmers together through events and annual meetings and providing peer support. In 2023, the FWA went through a strategic planning process and set clear goals for the future that they are actively working on. 

History of the FWA

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