Chelsea Bardot Lewis, Vermont Agency of Agriculture
Jen Butson, Vermont Dept. of Tourism & Marketing
MONTPELIER, Vt. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the Vermont Agency of Agriculture (VAAFM) as the recipient of an $88,500 matching grant under the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), one of the largest awards for the highly competitive 2013 program.
VAAFM, in collaboration with Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing (VDTM), University of Vermont Extension, Shelburne Farms, and Vermont Agricultural and Culinary Tourism Council (VT-ACT), will utilize this funding to amplify the economic impacts and mitigate risks of agricultural and culinary tourism for Vermont farms. The grant will fund capacity development and risk management for producers offering on-farm experiences, with attention to research and evaluation of economic impacts and farm profitability from engaging in agritourism activity. VAAFM and VDTM will utilize grant funds to implement coordinated marketing campaigns to drive visitors to farm and food businesses offering authentic agricultural and culinary experiences. Additionally, the grant will fund leadership and network development for VT-ACT to ensure the sharing of best practices and reinforce strong statewide agricultural organizations.
“Agritourism is an important strategy for promoting agricultural diversification and farm viability,” Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross said. “Vermont is a leader in community-based agriculture, and this represents yet another way that we are promoting agricultural literacy among visitors and Vermonters alike.”
In 2013, FSMIP Projects total funding is $1,234,690 with average grant allotments of $68,594. Overall, 18 FSMIP projects will be represented across 15 states.
“The joint efforts between the Agency of Agriculture, statewide agricultural organizations and VDTM have reaped a significant award for the future of Vermont agritourism,” Megan Smith, Commissioner of VDTM said. “Especially when compared to the grants received by larger states, this funding is yet another testament that Vermont is a leader in this field.”
VAAFM facilitates, supports and encourages the growth and viability of agriculture in Vermont while protecting the working landscape, human health, animal health, plant health, consumers and the environment. Visit http://www.vermontagriculture.com/
VDTM works to promote Vermont’s travel, recreation, cultural and historic attractions, as well as the state’s goods and services, in coordination with public and private sector partners and to market to a global audience in a manner consistent with the values and traditions of the state for the economic benefit of all Vermonters. Find industry information at www.vermontpartners.com and traveler information at http://www.vermontvacation.com/.
Since 1976, USDA's Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program has partnered with states across the country to support 943 projects that exemplify marketing innovation. Visit www.ams.usda.gov/FSMIP for a complete list of this year's projects.