ST. ALBANS TOWN — Farmers, state agency representatives and community members interested in improving water quality boarded a school bus Thursday afternoon to tour farms in the St. Albans Bay watershed implementing agricultural conservation practices in their fields.

Passengers, including Dept. of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Emily Boedecker and staffers from U.S. Rep. Peter Welch’s office, got an up close view of how agronomic practices such as no-till or reduced till, cover cropping and the usage of a roller crimper affected corn yields at four different farms this year: Bess-View, Longway, Magnant and Machia.

The University of Vermont Extension’s Northwest Crops & Soils Program, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) and Farmer’s Watershed Alliance sponsored the bus tour, a more mobile approach to their annual summer field days.

At the first stop, Bess-View Farm on Brigham Road, John Thurgood, an assistant state conservationist for NRCS and Sarah Larose, a soil conservationist for NRCS, updated the group about the work farmers are doing to reduce phosphorus loading in St. Albans Bay, including partnering with NRCS to receive grant money to fund the implementation of conservation practices.

“Today is, to me, somewhat of a celebration because we’ve been involved and working with this watershed for a couple of years now in earnest and we have a lot of good results to show you,” said Thurgood. “So it’s a great day to be here.”

For more on ag practices being adopted by farmers in the St. Albans Bay watershed, pick up a copy of the weekend Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.