By Alison Kosakowski, Director of Communications, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
Over the past six weeks, newly appointed Ag Secretary, Anson Tebbetts, and Deputy Secretary, Alyson Eastman, have been traveling around Vermont to hear feedback and ideas from farmers and the public.
The public meetings, held in Lyndonville, St. Albans, Brattleboro, Middlebury, and Montpelier, were designed to open the lines of communication between the Agency, industry partners, the farming community, and the public.
Approximately 300 Vermonters attended the meetings throughout the state to share their thoughts on farming in Vermont.
As this issue of Agriview goes to print, the Agency has just completed the final scheduled stop on the tour, in Montpelier. The next step for the Agency is to compile the feedback and the themes that emerged from the sessions.
“This has been a terrific way to connect with farmers and hear what is on their minds,” according to Secretary Tebbetts. “I appreciate all who came out to share feedback with us. We have learned a lot.”
“We’ve been taking detailed notes throughout the tour,” said Deputy Secretary Eastman. “Now, we are going to dig into those notes, and determine our next steps for responding to the key themes that have emerged.”
Farmers and community members have provided feedback on a broad range of topics.
“Many farmers shared their concerns about being regulated. Others talked about creating opportunities on the farm for the next generation. We heard them, loud and clear, and are working on plan to respond to their concerns,” said Tebbetts. “Everyone is working hard to keep our agricultural economy strong.”
“Over the next month, we will sort through the feedback as a team, here at the Agency. We will be following up with all those who attended, to share the major themes and our response,” added Eastman. “We’ll also share those findings and our response, here in Agriview.”
“We are committed to growing our economy and making Vermont more affordable,” said Tebbetts. “Agriculture will play a critical role in achieving our goals.”