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NO. 100. AN ACT RELATING TO PENALTIES, DAIRY SHEEP, NONPOINT SOURCE WATER POLLUTION AND LARGE FARM OPERATIONS.

(H.849)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 6 V.S.A. § 15 is amended to read:

§ 15. ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTIES

(a) In addition to other penalties provided by law, the commissioner may assess administrative penalties, not to exceed $1,000.00, for each violation of*[:]* this title and Titles 9 and 20, unless a higher administrative penalty amount is provided for therein.

*[(1) 6 V.S.A. chapter 32, "maple products."]* *[(2) 6 V.S.A. chapter 63, "livestock dealers, auctions and sales rings."]* *[(3) 6 V.S.A. chapter 102, "livestock disease control."]* *[(4) 6 V.S.A. chapter 107, "imports and exports."]* *[(5) 9 V.S.A. chapter 73, "weights and measures."]* *[(6) 6 V.S.A. chapter 21, "grades and standards for farm products."]* *[(7) 6 V.S.A. chapter 204, "preparation of livestock."]* *[(8) 6 V.S.A. chapter 215, "agricultural non-point source pollution reduction program."]* *[(9) 6 V.S.A. chapter 84, "pest survey, detection and management."]* *[(10) 6 V.S.A. chapter 151, "dairy operations."]* *[(11) 20 V.S.A. chapter 194, "welfare of animals."]* *[(12) 20 V.S.A. chapter 199, "the sale of dogs and cats."]*

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Sec. 2. 6 V.S.A. § 2672 is amended to read:

§ 2672. DEFINITIONS

As used in this part, the following terms have the following meanings:

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(2) “Milk producer” or “producer” is a person, partnership, unincorporated association or corporation who owns or controls one or more cows *[or]*, dairy goats or dairy sheep and sells or offers for sale a part or all of the milk produced by the animals.

(3) “Dairy farm” is any place or premise where one or more cows *[or]*, dairy goats or dairy sheep are kept and where a part, or all of the milk from the animals is sold or offered for sale.

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(7b) Sheep’s milk is the colostrum free, pure, lacteal product of healthy dairy sheep which contains no less than 11.50 percent of total milk solids (to which nothing has been added or taken away).

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Sec. 3. 6 V.S.A. § 4821 is amended to read:

§ 4821. ASSISTANCE PROGRAM CREATED; ADMINISTRATION

(a) Program created. -- A program is created to provide state financial assistance to Vermont farmers in support of their voluntary construction of on-farm improvements and maintenance of acceptable operating standards designed to abate nonpoint source agricultural waste discharges into the waters of the state of Vermont, consistent with goals of the federal Water Pollution Control Act and with state water quality standards. The program shall be conducted in a manner which makes maximum use of federal financial aid for the same purpose, as provided by this subchapter, and which seeks to use the least costly methods available to accomplish the abatement required.

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Sec. 4. Sec. 18 of Act No. 163 of the Acts of 1995 Adjourned Session is amended to read:

Sec. 18. EFFECTIVE DATE, SUNSET AND TRANSITORY PROVISION

(a) This act shall take effect on passage. *[Sec. 17 of this act and any rules adopted pursuant to Sec. 17 of this act are repealed effective July 1, 2000.]*

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Sec. 4a. LARGE FARM OPERATION PERMIT INFORMATION

(a) The commissioner shall provide to any interested person information designed to outline the large farm operation permitting program, including:

(1) The purpose of regulating large farm operations under subchapter 3 of chapter 215 of Title 6.

(2) Who must obtain a permit, and the steps that must be taken to do so, including the documents that must be submitted to the commissioner for review, their contents, and suggestions on how to prepare the documents and who may be called upon to help.

(3) The time required to obtain a permit, and how it may be minimized.

(4) The various animal waste management techniques available to comply with accepted agricultural practices, and how to evaluate which might be most effective and economic for an individual large farm operation. Discussion of these techniques should review their relevance to achieving long-term optimum soil conditions plus other optimum uses of energy and nutrient values through such processes as digesting and composting or capturing of methane gases.

(5) Any other information as determined by the commissioner.

(b) The information shall be made available no later than December 30, 2000, after consultation with the agency of natural resources, the University of Vermont Agricultural Extension Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. The information shall be updated as needed.

Sec. 4b. REVIEW COMPLETION SCHEDULE

(a) The commissioner shall in an expeditious manner complete a review of compliance with subchapter 3 of chapter 215 of Title 6 by all large farm operations. To facilitate this task, the commissioner shall:

(1) prioritize a review schedule with the objective of addressing first the large farm operations located in the most sensitive watersheds plus those with a history of failure to comply with departmental regulations; and

(2) ensure that permit reviews are completed by January 1, 2002 for all large farm operations existing on May 15, 2000.

(b) The commissioner shall by January 15, 2001, submit to the house and senate committees on agriculture the review schedule required by subsection (a) of this section and report on progress with meeting the schedule.

Sec. 4c. 6 V.S.A. § 4853 is amended to read:

§ 4853. INFORMATIONAL MEETING

(a) The commissioner shall conduct an informational meeting in a municipality when there is a proposal to construct a new barn, within the municipality, that would require a permit under this subchapter.

(b) The commissioner may conduct an informational meeting in a municipality in which a barn expansion is sought, if the barn is already subject to permitting requirements under this subchapter, and if that expansion would increase housing for livestock or domestic fowl by more than 30 percent within a 12-month period.

(c) The commissioner shall upon request prepare in writing the response of the department to matters raised during a meeting held pursuant to this section, or submitted to the commissioner in writing. Such response shall pertain to considerations required under this subchapter.

Sec. 5. EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on passage.

Approved: May 5, 2000