May 11, 2018

A flight filled with producers, marketers, media members and food entrepreneurs made its way from Burlington to our nation's capital early Thursday morning. The big event: The 13th Annual Taste of Vermont, put on by the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted by U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy.

While Vermont's finest food leaders started preparations for the highly anticipated affair, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets Secretary Anson Tebbetts spent the day meeting with members from Vermont’s congressional delegation and The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) about critical issues impacting Vermont’s farmers and producers.

The Farm Bill was the focus. What can be done to help grow Vermont’s agricultural economy? Secretary Tebbetts spoke with partners about proposed FDA labeling laws, industrial hemp legislation, produce safety, conservation programs and the state of the dairy industry.

After filling up on some of Vermont’s finest, the sun set over The Hill. The next stop: The Green Mountain State. It was a day well spent in Washington, bringing home new ideas, concepts and work to get done, to help our farmers and producers who work hard for Vermont.

Visiting Congressman Peter Welch with Matt Gordon and Amanda Voyer from the Vermont Maple Sugarmakers' Association along with Roger Cochran and his son from Slopeside Syrup. Go Red Sox!

Not a bad spot for the Secretay to answer some emails and send some Tweets!

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) headquarters are in Arlington, Virginia. Secretary Tebbetts met with Dr. Barb Glenn, Chief Executive Officer.

A qucik walk around a farmers' market in Arlington right outside the NASDA offices.

Checking out the dairy selection at the Arlington farmers' market.

Flowers full bloom in the National Garden.

Senator Patrick Leahy, the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce and Vermont producers put in a lot of work to make "The Taste of Vermont," such a great event.

The Kennedy Caucus Room at the Russell Senate Office Building filled to the brim.

This is what Vermont tastes like! #ThinkVT

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, his wife Marcelle and grandson "little" Patrick thank everyone for coming.


Vermont's congressional delegation working together to showcase Vermont's high quality products.

Administartor for EPA's New England Region Alexandra Dunn, Vermont Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.

Secretary Tebbetts with John and Jennifer Kimmich from the Alchemist Brewery.

Secretary Tebbetts with Andrea Gagner from 14th Star Brewing Company.

TV News Anchor Lauren Maloney interviews Secretary Tebbetts about Vermont's food and beverage products.

Secretary Tebbetts meets with Vermont State Society.

Senator Leahy, Marcelle and Sam Cutting IV and Nancy Cutting from Dakin Farm.

A rainbow as the sun sets on The Capitol.



May 8, 2018

A member of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets was honored at the state Public Service Recognition Celebration on Tuesday at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.

Faith Raymond was honored by the state for the important role she plays in growing Vermont’s farm economy. As a member of the Agricultural Development Division, she is often the first contact who can lead to economic assistance for farmers, producers, small companies and the public. Faith’s “can do” attitude is critical to customers as they grow their farms or companies, and the valuable information she provides to the public helps them make the best possible decisions in a timely manner.

Faith also goes out of her way to promote agriculture as an editor with the Agency’s newspaper, Agriview. This monthly publication is regarded as the “bible” for farmers as they rely on it for updates on programs, regulations and events. Faith’s leadership in the agriculture community and beyond is making a difference today and will for years to come.

Vemront Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts thanked Faith and other state employees for their service.





May 8, 2018

From Vermont’s inception, freedom and unity have spurred innovation. John Deere invented the tractor. Ben and Jerry created world-class ice cream.  Environmental leaders like George Perkins Marsh defined conservation. The state’s rich history highlights how Vermonters and their values have led the way.

Innovation continues today. Farmers are working with engineers, scientists and researchers on projects that improve the environment while improving their finances. Biodigesters transform manure to electricity. Perennial plants and grasses transform bare soils into buffers to protect rivers, and lasers help milk cows.  

Our next challenge is phosphorous innovation. Phosphorus is essential for plant growth, and both human and animal health. Too much phosphorus can be harmful to our waterways.  Farmers deploy a bevy of conservation measures to keep phosphorous on their fields. Adopting these best management practices to protect water has also improved soil. And efforts are currently underway to spark further innovation in phosphorus management, building on that progress.

Governor Phil Scott has challenged the agencies of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Commerce to find engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs who can work with farmers to deploy new and innovative approaches to capture and reuse phosphorus.  That innovation could take the form of extracting phosphorus from manure, processing waste to produce energy, and perhaps generating revenue and creating jobs. Possible approaches include production of compost, fertilizers and bio-char. There are many companies working on these solutions and, through the Phosphorus Innovation Challenge, Vermont is at the table.

In phase one of this project the state has made $250,000 available for “proof-of-concept” grants to support several projects. The state is accepting proposals for this seed money over the next two months. A panel comprised of scientists, entrepreneurs, and business experts will help guide the selection. If you would like to take up the challenge, we look forward to hearing from you!

We know that achieving Vermont’s clean water goals will require us to deploy both traditional conservation measures and new methods and ideas. We look forward to a day when products or processes that ensure clean water and farm viability are the standard, taking their place alongside other tools on our farms, many of which have their roots in Vermont. Freedom and unity includes innovation which continues to move Vermont forward, as it has for centuries, improving our environment, families and communities.

Click here for timeline and details for interested parties. 

May 4, 2018

VAAFM now accepting applications on first-come, first-serve basis.

May 4, 2018 / Montpelier, VT – The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, & Markets began accepting applications for Producer Association Grants Thursday, May 3 at 9:00 AM on a first-come, first-serve basis for eligible applicants.

Eligible applicants are Vermont-based nonprofit producer association groups that represent and promote Vermont agriculture, food, beverage, forest, and fiber products. For the purposes of this grant, producer association group is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry.

A total of $16,000 in grants funds are available and grants of $1,000-$2,000 will be awarded. Project proposals need to be part of an established, multi-year marketing plan and growth strategy of the industry represented and must end before November 15, 2018.

VAAFM expects funding to be allocated quickly. Other first come, first serve grants have been fully allocated within the first hour of the grant opportunity opening.

Questions related to the Vermont Producer Association Grant Program should be directed at (802) 505-1822 or

May 4, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or the Agency) will be extending the comment period by 45 days on the draft guidance for industry about the declaration of added sugars on honey, maple syrup, and certain cranberry products.

The FDA is taking this action in response to requests for additional time to submit comments. A Federal Register notice will be issued soon with the new comment period close date.

Electronic comments can be submitted at Written comments can be submitted to Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. All comments should be identified with the docket number FDA-2018-D-0075, as listed in the notice of availability that publishes in the Federal Register.

To read the full Constituent Update, please go to:

To view the draft guidance entitled, “Draft Guidance for Industry: Declaration of Added Sugars on Honey, Maple Syrup, and Certain Cranberry Products,” please go to: