Blog

November 1, 2017

MONTPELIER, Vt. - The Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets is pleased to announce the availability of a third year of funding for Trade Show Assistance Grants. Trade Show Assistance Grants financially assist eligible Vermont agriculture and forestry businesses in connecting with new markets and buyers at out-of-state trade shows. As of November 1st, the application period for the FY2018 Trade Show Assistance Grants is now open and funding will be allocated on a first come first serve basis until funds are depleted. Funding for this program has been made available by the Working Lands Enterprise Board and all grantees will be expected to contribute a 1:1 match. This year’s grants will be available to out-of-state trade show exhibitors and requests will be granted for $1,000-$2,500.

To date, VAAFM has made grants to over 60 businesses to attend 21 different trade shows in 14 different states, with grantees projecting more than $2 million in total annual sales attributable to exhibiting at these trade shows. Trade Show Assistance Grant funding may be used for the following approved expenses: travel expenses; marketing assets and booth design; registration fees; booth fees; furnishings; utilities; freight; other marketing costs (samples, printing, etc).

“The economic development of our agriculture and forestry sector is integral to growing Vermont’s economy,” said Secretary Anson Tebbetts. “The Working Lands Enterprise Board and the Agency of Agriculture have repeatedly demonstrated the importance of marketing high-quality Vermont products beyond our state. These small grants undoubtedly show great results.”  

Vermont based producers, processors, forest products, and woodworkers; who meet the following criteria are encouraged to apply:

  1. Business is registered with the Vermont Secretary of State, has been in business for over one (1) year, and has an address indicating that substantial business functions are performed in Vermont;
  2. Product contains at least 50% Vermont agricultural or forestry content/ingredients (excluding water and packaging)
  3. Business has 3 or more retail/wholesale accounts.

For more information on the program, eligibility, and funding requirements visit www.agriculturegrants.vermont.gov, contact Lauren Masseria by email at Lauren.Masseria@vermont.gov or call  802.505.5413.

October 31, 2017

                               (Caterpillar tunnel damaged at 1000 Stone Farm, Brookfield Vermont)

MONTPELIER, Vt. –  The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets urges farmers seeking financial recovery assistance to apply for emergency loans as soon as possible.

By Tuesday afternoon, more than a dozen Vermont farms reported damage or problems caused by wind storms Sunday night and Monday morning. This storm is a multi-day event and it’s likely more farms will be impacted as energy crews work to restore power. In many cases, agricultural structures like greenhouses, high tunnels, hoop barns and other mobile field shelters were significantly damaged. Several dairy farms continue to use generators to power milking operations, presenting additional logistical challenges. As Vermont sugarmakers begin to survey the woods, damages to trees, pipelines and facilities are being reported. In some areas, full restoration could take until the weekend. Any farms requiring emergency assistance are getting help through the Vermont State Emergency Operations Center (EOC).  

The Vermont Farm Fund (VFF), a program of the Center for an Agricultural Economy, offers an emergency loan program to help farmers recover from natural disasters. The program currently has around $70,000 in available funding. The maximum loan amount is $10,000 with 0% interest, payable over 24 months.

Once an application is submitted, most emergency loan requests are approved within 14 business days. To apply, download an application here. For additional information about the Vermont Farm Fund program visit www.VermontFarmFund.org, or contact the VFF Program Manager, Kate Stephenson, at Kate@vermontfarmfund.org.

The Agency of Agriculture continues to encourage farmers to document any losses from the recent storm. It’s helpful to take pictures and keep detailed records. This information could be valuable for farmers, state and federal officials as they calculate the economic impact of this wind storm.

Vermonters are encouraged to heed the below advice during power outages:

  • Never use a generator indoors.
  • Never touch a downed power line.
  • Check on your neighbors.
  • If you have damage to your home call your insurance company then report the damage to your town.

If you need immediate assistance, want to report damage or have any questions please call the Agency’s emergency line at 802-241-5497, or the state assistance line 2-1-1. You can also email agr.Helpdesk.Vermont.gov or contact the Agency at 802-828-2430. 

October 30, 2017

WATERBURY, Vt. - The high winds overnight have hit many Vermont farms and farmers. Approximately 1 out of 3 Vermonters is without power due to the high winds. A second round of high winds ranging from 40 to 45 MPH is expected to affect Windsor and Windham Counties around 11 A.M. and winding down around 4 P.M.

Damage to high tunnels and greenhouses are reported. The Agency of Agriculture is urging farmers to document any losses from the recent storm. It’s helpful to take pictures and keep detailed records. This information could be valuable for farmers, state and federal officials as they calculate the economic impact of the wet weather this spring and summer.

Potential issues for Vermont Agriculture will likely be:

  • Pet sheltering for evacuated owners
  • Inability for farmers to milk cattle if they do not have generators
  • Inability for co-op trucks to get to farms to pick up milk
  • Wind damage to greenhouses and hoop houses

If you have specific questions or want to report damage, please call the Agency at 802-828-2430 or email AGR.Helpdesk@vermont.gov.

October 27, 2017

                                    

Henry Marckres retires after 33 years with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

By Anson Tebbetts

January 1984.

The King of Pop had the number one song and the King of Maple was just beginning his career at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.

Henry Marckres began inspecting products like apples, potatoes and strawberries and let’s not forget eggs. To become a certified egg grader, the training meant candling 5,000 eggs per day for more than a month.

An “egg-stroidnary” career was underway.

His training led Henry to become the state’s Chief of Consumer Protection. From weights and measures, to gas pumps to grocery scanners, Henry made sure the public got what it paid for.

Henry made sure you got what you paid for when you purchased that jug of pure Vermont maple.

For more than three decades, Henry protected pure maple.

It meant tasting the sweet stuff, sampling thousands of products over the years.

Those “off flavors” can be found in Henry’s coveted Maple Library found in a freezer. When a sugarmaker wondered what went wrong they called Henry.

His taste buds have detected paint stripper, mouse poo and even battery acid. His commitment to protecting maple landed him in the hospital three times.

Henry recovered and has judged hundreds of maple contests and graded thousands of gallons, even sampling more than a half of gallon of syrup in one day.

Henry’s career also meant protecting Vermont maple from those passing it off as something else. His investigations led to criminal charges for those mislabeling or adulterating Vermont maple.

It’s been a colorful career full of stake-outs, fairs and festivals, stories and most of all the love of maple from this farm kid from Craftsbury. The awards are many, from both sides of the border.

A sweet legacy from Henry Marckres who’s love of maple has made a difference and will make a difference for future generations. 

October 25, 2017

 

A major water quality improvement project near Lake Carmi in Franklin has been talked about for years but now is nearing completion.

Recently, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (AAFM) announced a series of plans on protecting and restoring the Lake Carmi watershed.  The Agencies are pleased to announce that one of the projects identified in the roadmap is nearing completion thanks to funding from the Vermont Clean Water Fund. 

Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts says this clean-up project is important, “We are getting work done on the ground. This project signifies how our team wakes up every morning trying to make our environment better. We will not let up on our efforts to improve Lake Carmi and all our waterways in Vermont.”  

Water quality specialist John Roberts added “I’d also like to thank the farmer who helped us to implement this fix as well as the staff at UVM Extension who oversaw the design and construction phases of the project. This is a team effort in the Lake Carmi community.”

The goal of this project is aimed a decreasing the phosphorus loading to acceptable levels through removal of legacy phosphorus that is bound to sediment collected at the bottom of a man-made pond on the property.

Surface water monitoring of tributaries to Lake Carmi identified this pond as releasing elevated concentrations of phosphorus.  The elevated testing results spurred the Agency to engage further with the local farmer who was interested in implementing a fix.  This project – and all conservation practices implemented by AAFM and ANR – will be tracked and surface water monitoring at this site will continue to assess the impacts the implemented projects are having on tributary phosphorus contributions.  The results of these surface water sampling efforts are all publicly available on the DEC monitoring website: http://dec.vermont.gov/watershed/map/monitor/larosa

This project is a collaboration of work between AAFM and UVM Extension.  The team has worked together to make sure the project focused on phosphorus removal in a manner that was cost effective and improved water quality.  All soils and materials were, and have been, sampled for nutrient content so appropriate risk assessment tools could be run to ensure that the land application of the organics extracted from the bottom of the pond would not negatively impact Lake Carmi.

“The critical piece of this project was to remove the settled materials from direct contact with water and incorporate it into agricultural soils that will be able to use this material to grow vigorous crops that will mine the phosphorus out of the soil and, once harvested, be removed out of the watershed,” said Laura DiPietro of the Agency of Ag.  DiPietro continued, “The Agency of Ag will continue to work with the agricultural land owners and partners to identify opportunities for projects that improve water quality. Our team is focused on getting to a better place for all those who live and work around Lake Carmi.”

This is just a one of series of Lake Carmi projects identified by the Agency of Agriculture and Agency of Natural Resources.

For more information on AAFM’s Water Quality Program visit: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/water-quality

Pages