VAAFM facilitates, supports and encourages the growth and viability of agriculture in Vermont while protecting the working landscape, human health, animal health, plant health, consumers and the environment.
The VAAFM is organized into four divisions:
- The Division of Administration oversees and coordinates agency policy and promotes interests of consumers and producers.
- The Division of Agricultural Development provides a role in developing local, regional, national and global markets for Vermont's agricultural products.
- The Division of Agricultural Resource Management (ARM) regulates pesticides, feed, seed and fertilizers. The division administers Vermont's agricultural water quality programs and enforcement of environmental and safety laws.
- The Division of Food Safety and Consumer Protection is organized into the following sections providing oversight in the areas of: livestock heath, consumer safety and protection, dairy inspection, and meat inspection.
Secretary, Chuck Ross
Chuck Ross was appointed as the Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets in January 2011 by Governor Peter Shumlin. Prior to his role as Secretary, he served for 16 years as the State Director U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, 6 years as a state legislator from Hinesburg, VT.
As State Representative, Ross served as Chair of the House Natural Resource and Energy Committee. He has also served as a trustee at Fletcher Allen Health Care; a trustee at the University of Vermont; on the Board of Directors at Shelburne Farms; on the Advisory Board of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and the Advisory Board of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Vermont. In addition, Ross has served on many state and local government boards and commissions. He served as the president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) from 2013-2014.
Born in Burlington, Vermont, he graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in Geography in 1978 and from the University of Washington with an M.A. in Geography in 1982. He resides in Hinesburg where he continues to help run the family farm with his brother and sister.
Deputy Secretary, Jolinda LaClair
Jolinda serves as Deputy Secretary for Administration for the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. Previously, she was State Director of USDA Rural Development (RD) for Vermont and New Hampshire. She directed over 40 community and economic development programs aimed at rural development including agriculture.
Jolinda currently serves on the boards of Vermont Works for Women, and the VT Agriculture Innovation Center. She is past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Vermont Council on Rural Development, and served as a board member for the Vermont Community Foundation, Housing Vermont, as well as a member of a regional initiative to create a four-state economic development strategy for the Northern Forest region. She is a former State Advisor for the University of Vermont Extension.
Jolinda has a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Vermont. She resides in Middlesex.
Deputy Secretary, Diane Bothfeld
Diane serves as Deputy Secretary for Dairy Policy, Director of Administrative Services and Agricultural Development for the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. Diane was raised on a dairy farm in Cabot, Vermont, and has not strayed from her dairy roots throughout her career.
Diane got her professional start as an assistant professor with the University of Vermont Extension system. From there, she joined the management team of the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, Inc., as the Cooperative Relations Manager.
After 10 years of dairy advocacy at St. Albans Co-op, Diane took a leadership position at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture that allows her to continue her work on behalf of dairy farmers and the dairy industry. Diane’s leadership has been instrumental in establishing an effective Vermont Dairy Task Force, involvement in the Northeast Dairy Leadership Team and as liaison to the Vermont Cheese Council.
Diane graduated from the University of Vermont with a Masters Degree in Ruminant Nutrition. She resides in Burlington.