Following an investigation by Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell, Dairy Farmer Richard M. Nelson agreed on Tuesday to pay $33,000 in civil penalties after allegations that some practices at his farm violated the state’s water pollution laws.

In an investigation that began in 2012 with the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, the state found that Nelson's farm in Coventry was allegedly discharging agricultural runoff from bunker silos into a nearby stream. 

“Vermont’s laws and regulations relating to agricultural water quality help keep our state waterways clean,” Sorrell said. “Farmers should know that when those requirements are not met, the state will pursue enforcement claims in state court.”

Under the terms of the settlement, Nelson admitted liability for violating Vermont’s accepted agricultural practices and for violating the statutory prohibition on discharging runoff into state waters between 2009 and 2011.

Nelson agreed to pay the civil penalties and make necessary changes to his farm to correct the violations to the satisfaction of state agencies.

"Farmers have to understand that water quality protection is vital to keeping agricultural operations sustainable into the future," Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross said.

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