View from 116 State Street: April 2017

By Anson Tebbetts, Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, Food & Markets

After a few starts and stops, a new season is upon us. April can be a challenging month but it’s filled with hope. The earth is warming, trees are budding, and once again our farmers will be working the soil. By end of the month our sugar makers will be cleaning up and looking back at the season. It sure was a sugar season of wild swings. It was warm one day and bitter cold the next.  But we are confident when all the figures are in, Vermont will once again lead the nation in maple syrup production.

 We have been listening and learning from you over the last few weeks. It’s been an honor to meet many of you at our listening tour events. We heard some great suggestions. Over the coming weeks we will be compiling what we heard and discussing what actions we might take based on your suggestions. One theme is clear, Vermonters value our farmers and want them to succeed. We are committed to supporting all our farmers so they can help grow our economy.

It’s been a busy year at the legislature so far. We are doing our best to make Vermont more affordable for all who live here. We are holding the line on all proposals that would increase state fees and taxes. It’s been great to see so many of our farmers coming to the State House to offer their advice to our legislative leaders. Testimony by the public or a quick phone call is still the most effective way to influence our policy makers. As we enter the final weeks of the session our farmers likely will be asked to weigh on important issues from dairy to maple to water quality. If we at the Agency can be of any help, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

We know April can be bumpy out on the backroads of Vermont - this being our “5th season” - but we wish our farmers a smooth ride into the very busy planting season. It’s truly a special time of year as we discover we have survived another Vermont winter and the “green” is back in the Green Mountains.