Blog

March 9, 2018

 

Scott Waterman, Agency of Agriculture

What makes maple season special besides being out on the land, cold nights and warm days, a good boil and a lot of sweet maple syrup?  Certainly, tradition plays a big role.  For decades, Governors have highlighted the importance of maple to Vermont’s heritage and economy, with the annual tapping of the tree.

This year the event took place at the Green Mountain Technology and Career Center in Hardwick.  Students from the school recently built a new sugarhouse on site and manage over 3200 taps in the forest nearby. 

Governor Phil Scott arrived on a beautiful, snowy March morning, accompanied by many students from the school, to tap a maple just outside the new sugarhouse.  With a swift motion of the power drill and skilled tapping with a mallet, Governor Scott hung a traditional sap bucket with plenty of time in the season for a great run of sap.  Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts and Forest, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mike Snyder and Deputy Commissioner Sam Lincoln were on hand to highlight the importance of maple.

Once the ceremonial tapping was complete, the students and Governor toured the new sugarhouse. Of course, no sugarhouse tour would be complete without a taste of the maple syrup, and students from the Technology and Career Center Culinary program made donuts for the event, which made for a wonderful pairing with the sweet syrup!  

While inside the sugarhouse, the Governor was given a tour of the evaporator in operation and shown many of the elements that turn sap into liquid gold. 

Part of the purpose of the annual event is to highlight the value of the maple industry to Vermont’s heritage and economy.  While sugaring operations can vary in size from a few trees to thousands of taps, it is hard to argue with the numbers that emphasize the industry’s impact:

  • In 2004, Vermont ran 1 million taps - in 2018, that number is over 5 million taps.
  • In 2017, Vermont produced 1.98 million gallons of maple syrup – second highest total on record.
  • In 2017, Vermont led the country in maple production with nearly 50% of the U.S. crop.
  • Approximately 4,000 Vermont jobs are created and supported by the Vermont maple industry.

“Vermont Maple is just one of the important agricultural products that give our state its unique character.  Maple syrup has been boiled on our hills since before Vermont came to be, and we’ll work hard to ensure Vermont maple is recognized around the world for many years to come,” said Secretary Anson Tebbetts.

We hope you can join us the next time our Governor taps a maple at your Vermont sugarhouse.

March 9, 2018

MONTPELIER -- There will be a public meeting in Barre on Thursday, March 15th, 2018 to discuss the discovery of emerald ash borer in Orange County. The meeting is being hosted by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, in cooperation with the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the US Forest Service.

On February 27, 2018 the USDA confirmed the presence of emerald ash borer in the Town of Orange after State agencies were alerted by a private forestry consultant of a potential infestation. Emerald ash borer larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that moves nutrients up and down the trunk. It was first discovered in North America in the Detroit area in 2002, and over the past sixteen years, it has decimated ash populations in over 30 states. Ash trees comprise approximately 5% of Vermont forests and are also a very common and important urban tree. EAB threatens white ash, green ash and black ash in Vermont and could have significant ecological and economic impacts.

Those attending the meeting will have an opportunity to learn about emerald ash borer and hear how state and federal agencies are responding to the insect’s presence in Vermont. Attendees will also be informed about how they can limit the spread of emerald ash borer. Representatives from the various state and federal agencies will be present to answer questions.

Emerald Ash Borer Informational Meeting 
Thursday, March 15, 2018
6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 
Barre First Presbyterian Church  
19 Seminary Street 
Barre, Vermont

CONTACT:

Emilie Inoue, State Pest Survey Coordinator

VT Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets

802-505-0217

emilie.inoue@vermont.gov

Barbara Schultz, Forest Health Program Manager

VT Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

802-777-2082

barbara.schultz@vermont.gov

For more information on EAB, please visit www.vtinvasives.org

 

 

March 8, 2018

Montpelier, Vt. – Vermont cheesemakers took home multiple top awards in the 2018 World Championship Cheese Contest held in Madison, Wisconsin this week.  The awards were announced Tuesday, with Vermont receiving 15 top-3 finishes against cheese makers from around the globe. Highlights include:

  • The Cabot Creamery Cooperative of Middlebury took home first place awards in the “Cheddar - Mild” and “Cheddar-Medium” category, and in the “Monterey Jack” category.  
  • Grafton Village Cheese of Brattleboro took home the second and third place awards in the “Natural Rinded Cheddar” category. 
  • Jasper Hill Farm of Greensboro took home a first-place in the “Soft Ripened Cheeses” category.
  • Jasper Hill Farm and Von Trapp Farmstead, both of Greensboro, swept the top-three spots in the “Smear Ripened Soft Cheeses” category.
  • Vermont Creamery of Websterville was awarded first place in the “Ripened Goats Milk Cheeses” category.

“Congrats to our world class cheesemakers and farmers. Your commitment to your craft, animals, land and community is making Vermont a better place to live and work. You all should be proud of your accomplishments,” Deputy Secretary Alyson Eastman commented.

To see the full list of 121 competition categories and the awards, visithttps://wccc.myentries.org/contest/results/top-three?event=61#resultSub

For more on the 2018 World Championship Cheese Contest, please visit https://www.worldchampioncheese.org/.

March 8, 2018

The Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) seeks proposal from dynamic, organized and experienced individuals or organizations to coordinate the annual activities associated with Breakfast on the Farm (BOTF) events. In 2018, there will be two events, one at the end of June and one at the end of July. The objective of the Breakfast on the Farm events is to teach people about modern dairy farming and to introduce the farm families who work hard to produce a safe, wholesome product for Vermont and beyond. Breakfast on the Farm invites members of the community to enjoy a free catered breakfast on a local farm, tour the facility and learn more about agriculture. In 2017, nearly 2500 community members participated. Please see below for details.

 

2018 Breakfast on the Farm Contracted Coordinator

Beginning in 2015, Vermont Breakfast on the Farm (BOTF) has offered 5 events that in total welcomed over 5,000 people to working dairy farms. The Breakfast on the Farm committee is planning two events for 2018.  These events are scheduled for June 23, 2018 and July 28, 2018.

Vermont Breakfast on the Farm is a free public celebration, designed to teach people about modern dairy farming and to introduce the farm families who work hard to produce a safe, wholesome product for Vermont and beyond. 

www.vermontbreakfastonthefarm.com

This RFP is to solicit proposals for a  Breakfast on the Farm Coordinator who will enter into a contract with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets.  The contracted coordinator will plan and organize the logistics for TWO Breakfast on the Farm events.  Implementing the tasks required for each Breakfast on the Farm event allows the BOTF Board to focus on the marketing, food, and education components of each event.

Below are the duties and responsibilities required for the contracted coordinator: 
 

2018 Contractor Duties and Responsibilities:

  • BOTF Board Member: Serve on BOTF committee and attends all board meetings and functions, including the two summer events. Meetings take place monthly before the events, and there is a final recap meeting after each event.

 

  • Secretary/Note-Taker: Work with committee chair to schedule committee and subcommittee meetings. Take notes at each planning committee meeting and distribute them to committee members via email prior to the next committee or subcommittee meeting.

 

  • Site Logistics: Develop a primary and alternative parking plan for each site, accounting for potential weather issues (rain/wet fields).

 

  • Rentals: Book equipment and tent rentals.  Acquire Porta-Potties, handwasing stations, bike racks, chairs for breakfast tent and educational stations, and golf cart/RTV.

 

  • Emergency crews: Work with local first responders for EMT coverage of both events.  Develop back-up plans for First-Aid if EMT crews are called away from event.

 

  • Local Law Enforcement:  Work with appropriate law enforcement (Vermont State Police, Sheriff) to ensure awareness of each event.

 

  • Take Home  “Goodie Bags”:  Coordinate take-home “goodie bags” for attendees.

 

  • Printing: Fulfill printing needs of the events for signs, banners, marketing and promotional materials, farm maps and scavenger hunt maps.

 

  • Site Decorations and Materials:  Work with BOTF Committee and each participating farm to create and display decorations and signage in each event’s welcome area.  Work with each host family to coordinate any “meet the family” display or tent, such as photos of family, history of farm, etc. Assist with set-up and clean-up of the welcome area.

 

  • Cell Service and Wifi:  Work with BOTF Board and host family to assess cell service availability, wifi access, and potential solutions if either is unavailable.

 

Project Timeline:

April 15, 2018 – December 31, 2018

Proposals received will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Experience successfully coordinating similar events.
  • Experience in complex project management.
  • Experience working with planning committee in project and event management.
  • Familiarity with dairy farming is preferred, but not required.
  • Ability to maintain high level of organization throughout entire project.
  • Ability to maintain integrity in representing the State of Vermont.

 

Bidders must submit the following, along with any other relevant material:

  • Payment is for services rendered only. Please submit a budget which does not exceed $5,000.
  • Example(s) of previous work with a similar scope. Provide web links where applicable.
  • Preliminary plan for events execution.

 

All questions and simplified bid submissions must be sent by email to Terry Smith at Terry.Smith@vermont.gov with the subject line “Breakfast On The Farm”.

 

Each bidder must describe their ability to accomplish the above described duties and responsibilities within the BOTF budget and timeline. Bids should be no greater than $5,000.

 

Proposals are due no later than 4:30 pm Eastern Standard Time, Friday March 30, 2018.

 

 

March 7, 2018

 

 

 

Episode 1: Tree Tapping Tips

Vermont maple sugarmakers talk about the beginning of the 2018 sugaring season, what they're looking forward to and the different methods used to collect sap.

 

March Means Maple, Episode 2: Making Maple More Marketable

Vermont leads the nation in maple syrup production, but many sugarmakers are subject to low bulk pricing dictated by the Maple Syrup Producers of Quebec. For a couple of local legends, making maple is a way of life and they have found ways to add value to Vermont's most prized crop.

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