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January 31, 2017

Vermont Largest Agricultural Showcase Returns Jan. 31 – Feb. 2

The Annual Vermont Farm Show, a great Vermont tradition, returns to the Champlain Valley Expo Center January 31st,  February 1st and 2nd. Now in its 87th year, the show celebrates the heritage of Vermont farming, while continuing to evolve and grow with our agricultural community. Packed with fun and educational events and displays, the show is sure to impress agricultural enthusiasts of all ages!

This year’s show will feature more than 150 agricultural exhibits, ranging from tractors to livestock to cutting-edge equipment. For a full list of exhibitors and their respective booth numbers, visit http://www.vtfarmshow.com/2017-exhibitors.html

“There’s something for everyone at the Farm Show,” says, Jackie Folsom, Farm Show Director. “Of course, for farmers, it’s a chance to see the newest products and innovations up close, and connect with resources to strengthen their businesses. But there’s also local food, exhibits, animals, and meetings for just about every agricultural group in the state – from Christmas tree growers to beekeepers! There’s so much to see and enjoy.”

“This time of year, the Farm Show is the place to be,” according to Vermont’s Ag Secretary, Anson Tebbetts. “It’s both educational, and fun!”

This year Consumer Night will be held Wednesday, February 1st.  Consumer Night begins at 4:00 p.m., and show hours will be extended until 7:30 p.m. that evening. Food enthusiasts will enjoy the Buy Local Market, which will showcase foods and products from Vermont farms.  The “Capital Cook-off,” an Iron Chef-type competition in which teams from the Vermont House of Representatives, Senate, and Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets will face off in a battle of culinary skills, will also occur again this year. 

There will also be opportunities for the next generation of Vermont farmers to convene at the Farm Show.

"We're proud to host two groups of young agriculturists at the Show - the FFA students on Wednesday, and the 2+2/FARMS students from VTC and UVM on Thursday," said Dave Martin, president of the Farm Show Board.  "They are the future leaders of our industry, and they need to meet our exhibitors and see what technology and efficiency has in store for them!"

The great tradition of product competitions continues this year! Beekeepers, hay makers, fiber spinners, and more are invited to display their goods and compete for ribbons. For a full list of product categories and entry rules, visit http://www.vtfarmshow.com/-product-contest.html

Organizers are proud to once again partner with the Chittenden County Emergency Food Shelf. Admission and parking are free, but guests are encouraged to donate a canned or boxed good at the entrance of the Miller Building.

The hours for the show are as follows:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 31: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 1: 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m
  • Thursday, Feb. 2: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

For more directions, farm show history, exhibitor information, and more, visit the farm show website at http://www.vtfarmshow.com

See you at the Farm Show!

Contact: Jackie Folsom Vermont Farm Show  crkdbrks@aol.com  802-426-3579

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January 25, 2017

On Friday, January 20th, eight Vermont businesses were presented with a Good Food Award at the gala Awards Ceremony, which took place at the historic Herbst Theater in San Francisco, California. Chosen from 2,059 entrants and 291 finalists, the Good Food Awards describes the 193 award recipients as rising to the top in a blind tasting and rigorous vetting to confirm they met specific standards around environmentally sound agricultural practices, good animal husbandry, sourcing transparency and responsible relationships throughout the supply chain.

“We are extremely proud to once again be recognized as a national leader in tasty, authentic, and responsibly produced food,” says Anson Tebbetts, Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets. “Vermont will continue to grow our food system to support our thriving local economy, and produce the most delicious and innovative products across the country.” 

Below are the eight Vermont awardees honored for their exceptional products and contribution to a local, sustainable economy:

Allison Hooper of Vermont Creamery, who spoke for the Good Food Awards cheese winners says, “It’s a tremendous honor to be a Good Food Award recipient.  For Bonne Bouche to earn this accolade twice in two years, is a true testament to our team’s commitment to transparency and innovation.” Vermont Creamery introduced Bonne Bouche in 2001 and quickly won the hearts and palates of cheese lovers and brought home a bronze medal at the 28th annual World Cheese Awards.

On Saturday, January 21st, 13 Vermont crafters and one Vermont retailer attended the Good Food Mercantile, an un-trade show hosted to connect Good Food winners, finalists, and members. Six of the 13 Vermont businesses received funding to support their attendance in part from the Trade Show Grant Program administered by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. 

The seventh Good Food Awards recognized businesses in 14 categories: beer, cider, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, confections, honey, pantry, pickles, preserves, spirits, oil, and preserved fish. Vermont businesses were represented in four of the 14 categories; cheese, confections, preserves, and spirits; and had 16 finalists of which the eight winner were chosen. Each winner will be identified with the Good Food Award Seal which guarantees a high quality, delicious product committed to environmentally sound business practices and social good within their community.

For a comprehensive list of the 2017 Good Food awards winners visit Good Food awards.

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January 5, 2017

Contact:

Emma Hanson

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

802-522-3132

emma.hanson@vermont.gov

 

 

The Vermont Building Provides Local Companies Access to more than a Million Consumers

 

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) is now accepting proposals from Vermont businesses and organizations for vending and exhibiting space in the Vermont Building at the 2016 Eastern States Exposition (“The Big E”) in West Springfield, Massachusetts.  This 2017 fair dates are September 15th – October 1st. Approximately 1 million patrons passed through the Vermont Building during the 2016 Big E, spending $1.8 million on Vermont products.  Learn more about the Big E on their website: http://www.thebige.com/

 

“The Vermont Building at The Big E, part of the Agency’s Domestic Export Program, is a special opportunity for Vermont businesses to connect with consumers throughout the region at our ‘embassy to the South’,” said Business Development Section Chief, Chelsea Lewis.  “We’re looking for vendors who embody the Vermont brand and who want to share that with a million customers and potential visitors.”

 

The Big E is located in The Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts and is billed as “New England’s Great State Fair.”  Founded in 1916 by Joshua Brooks, The Big E is the largest agricultural event on the eastern seaboard and the fifth-largest fair in the nation. The Big E is inclusive of all six of the New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Each of the New England states is prominently represented at the fair in its own building, located along the “Avenue of the States.” 

 

The 2016 Vermont vendors at The Big E included Long Trail Brewing, American Flatbread, Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association, Cold Hollow Cider, Champlain Orchards, Danforth Pewter, Vermont Smoke and Cure, and Vermont Flannel, among others.  The application deadline for 2017 is Monday, January 23rd by 5 p.m. Vendors will be chosen in a competitive process and reviewed by an independent committee.

 

VAAFM extends warm wishes and many thanks to outgoing building manager, Sheila Masterson.  After six years of service as building manager, and close to a decade of managing the Vermont Sugar Makers Association booth prior to that, she is retiring.   Laura Streets, owner of LLS Events, will take the helm as the new building manager. Laura brings eight years of experience running the Vermont Brewers Festival. 

 

Watch this video to learn more about the Vermont Building at the Big E, and the benefits of becoming a vendor: http://youtu.be/lVlwfsxAAnc

 

To apply for exhibition space in The Vermont Building at The Big E, visit: http://www.vermontbusinessregistry.com/BidPreview.aspx?BidID=19149

 

Follow the Vermont Building on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/vermontbuildingBigE/

 

For more information, please contact Emma Hanson, Working Lands Coordinator, at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets at 802-522-3132 or emma.hanson@vermont.gov .

 

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December 29, 2016

By Chuck Ross, VAAFM

It has been a great honor to serve Vermont’s agricultural community as Secretary of Agriculture over the last six years. From Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, a weather event that both literally and figuratively re-shaped Vermont, to expanding Farm to School Programs, to improved Maple Grading Systems, to the recently passed Required Agricultural Practices that will help to protect the integrity of our state’s waterways for generations to come, the last six years have witnessed many changes for Vermont’s agricultural communities. Thanks to the commitment, leadership, ingenuity, and collaborative spirit of Agency of Agriculture staff, our partner groups throughout the state, and our vast community of farmers, producers, and agriculturalists, I believe we have made great strides over the years, and have helped to solidify a path forward towards a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive ag industry in Vermont. While many challenges remain, I feel confident in the ability of this community to work together to overcome obstacles, pursue new opportunities, and continue to build upon our already strong foundation of agricultural quality, integrity, innovation, and tradition. 

According to Vermont Farm to Plate the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, 6,000 new jobs and almost 800 new establishments (farm & food businesses) have been added to Vermont’s farm, food, and forest sectors since 2009. I could write for days about exciting ag growth metrics and the many unique attributes of Vermont’s agricultural industry, but I believe the data presented in the report below will do a far better job of demonstrating the true, remarkable nature of our agricultural state. Agriculture lives at the core of Vermont’s culture, its heritage, and its economy. With an unwavering commitment to quality, integrity, and sustainability, Vermont is a national leader in many agricultural sectors, and world-renowned for its food and forestry products. As it has been for centuries, agriculture is an essential part of the Vermont way of life.

Read the report below for some highlights from the Vermont agricultural landscape in 2016. 

Click HERE to open. 

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December 29, 2016

 

George Cook, UVM Extension

While we don't hear about barn fires often, they do happen, and when they do, they can cause heavy damage to attached buildings, livestock, tools and equipment stored in or near the barn, not to mention the risks to human health & wellbeing. Taking a few simple steps can help you prevent tragic losses in the event of a fire.

Install a reflective E911 sign by the entrance to your farm/driveway, just like those bright green signs for road identification. Need info?  Contact your town office, fire department or rescue squad.

Developing a farm fire pre-plan with the help of your local fire department will make it easier for them to control a fire more quickly. You can download the University of Vermont Extension Farm Fire Pre-Plan datasheet at http://www.uvm.edu/extension/agriculture; sidebar on the right.

On the form there's a place to provide your E911 address and a map of all the buildings, utilities, access roads and water sources on your property. Keep one copy in your files and give the other to your local fire department. Update this annually or any time anything changes on the farm.

Fall is a busy time, transitioning from outdoor work to more indoor activities. When checking your barns, farm shop and other outbuildings to make sure that they are properly prepared for colder weather, pay special attention to any source of supplemental heat as heating equipment is one of the biggest fire dangers on the farm.

Heating equipment needs to be properly installed and maintained to provide the warmth you want without increasing the fire risks. Old stoves may have cracks that can throw sparks, so be sure to go over that old piece and determine if is still safe to fire up. Maintain a safe space around heating units with no combustibles within at least three feet.

Stovepipes and chimneys are another common source of problems. When was that chimney cleaned last? Is it sound, free of crumbling bricks, with a safe liner? If you are unsure of any of these questions, it would be wise to contact a certified chimney sweep or mason and have it inspected. And do it now before the heating season really hits us.

Hot embers blown from burning brush, leaves or other refuse, often too near buildings are a fairly common source of trouble. Watch the weather and wind direction and never burn upwind of buildings. Visit http://www.uvm.edu/extension/agricultur for more information and stay safe this winter.

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