Nelson Farms to pay $45,000 for agricultural violations

in Derby/Derby Line/News

Orleans County Superior court Newport Vermont

DERBY — Nelson Farms, Inc., a dairy farm operation with farms in Derby and Derby Line, has admitted to violations of Vermont’s water pollution law and agricultural practice regulations and has agreed to pay $45,000 in civil penalties for the violations.

The Settlement resolves a case that was filed by the Attorney General’s Office relating to the operation of the Crystal Brook Farm in Derby Line and the Clydeside Farm in Derby. Under the terms of the settlement, Nelson Farms admitted that the farms operated in violation of Vermont’s accepted agricultural practices (AAPs), their respective Medium Farm Operation (MFO) permits, and statutory prohibition on unpermitted discharges to state waters at various times in 2013.

In addition to the $45,000 payment, the settlement also requires that Nelson Farms have a professional engineer certify all future work at the two farms, no further discharges to State waters, and that each farm will comply with all applicable rules, permits and laws in the future.

The Attorney General worked closely with the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) and Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (AAFM) on all aspects of the enforcement action. The matter was investigated jointly by ANR and AAFM.

“My Office is committed to bringing enforcement actions when necessary to remedy violations of Vermont’s agricultural water quality laws,” said Attorney General William H. Sorrell. “We know that most Vermont farmers want to run sustainable farms that operate within the law and live up to the expectations of Vermonters, but when farms fail to do so, we are ready to step in,” Attorney General Sorrell added.

The Settlement was recently approved by the Orleans Superior Court.

“This type of conduct by Nelson Farms degrades the water quality in Vermont’s streams, rivers, ponds and lakes hurting all Vermonters,” said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner David Mears. “If we are to improve our water quality as the citizens of Vermont are demanding, these types of violations must stop. I hope the message is clear that the state will pursue significant penalties against those who continue to violate the law in this manner.”

Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross stated that “the vast majority of Vermont farmers are working hard to protect our environment, and we will not allow their good work to be tarnished by those who break the law. Farmers who violate Vermont’s water quality laws will be held accountable – no exceptions. We take these violations very seriously, and will continue to work with our partners across state government to ensure Vermont’s precious natural resources are protected and the laws are enforced.”

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