February 19, 2021 | Montpelier, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott has issued an executive order creating the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Vermont Agriculture to study and strategize how best to grow agriculture in the Green Mountain State.
The Commission’s charge will focus on ensuring the viability and adaptability of this sector, including recommendations for more cross-sector collaboration, increasing production and promotion, reducing barriers to entry and increasing diversity within the sector, and continued progress on environmental issues.
“The pandemic has further emphasized how important agriculture is to Vermonters and highlighted gaps in our food system. So, as we recover, we must continue to advocate for investing in Vermont communities and the work of the people who make their living off the land,” said Governor Scott. “This Commission will examine issues within agriculture - from farm to table - and deliver recommendations on how to chart a path forward for agricultural commerce in our state.”
The Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (AAFM) and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) will lead the commission, co-chaired by AAFM Secretary Anson Tebbetts and ACCD Secretary Lindsay Kurrle.
“This commission will lead to economic development in the agricultural sectors by helping farmers, producers and businesses create new markets and new jobs,” said AAFM Secretary Tebbetts. “It’s important we do this work today and for future generations.”
Governor Scott's Executive Order charges the Commission with developing long and short-term strategies and specific action plans with measurable outcomes to, at minimum:
- preserve and expand agricultural production and related economic, social, and ecological opportunities to help ensure that Vermont remains a vibrant agricultural state;
- grow and develop Vermont agriculture and its related resources;
- adopt and replicate efficiencies, partnerships, and opportunities;
- expand local producer, distributor, retail and marketing coordination;
- create opportunities to expand the production, processing, market reach, availability and sales of Vermont food;
- preserve current agricultural businesses and facilitate sustained growth;
- evaluate sustainable agriculture and production methods and consider how they may foster a more symbiotic relationship with the environment;
- continue environmental progress;
- make practices more affordable, increase production and grow local sales through better in-State coordination or better utilization of shared economies of scale;
- connect farmers and producers with residents and visitors, to improve public perception, and to promote tourism and its connection to Vermont agriculture;
- increase engagement with rural communities and next generation business owners, including New Americans and younger generations to encourage greater agricultural participation;
- lower barriers to entry and facilitate greater inclusivity, access, equity, and diversity and augment positive trends; and
- examine and promote laws, policies, and initiatives that support Vermont agriculture and its related resources.
The Commission shall report all findings and recommendations for an immediate action plan by November 15, 2021. The Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets and the Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (hereinafter “Co-Chairs”) shall call the Commission to its first meeting on or before April 1, 2021. The Commission shall measure and evaluate progress and submit a supplemental report to the Governor assessing the impact of its work and implemented strategies on or before November 15, 2022 and November 15, 2023. The Commission shall also otherwise comply with the terms of the Executive Order.
“Developing the future of commerce for the agriculture sector is critical to our economic recovery. As we look to grow our economy, recruit new residents and businesses to the state, and build a better future for all Vermonters, we must ensure our agriculture sector remains nimble and innovative both in the long and short-term,” said ACCD Secretary Kurrle.
Commission members will represent several sectors including maple, dairy and experts in Vermont’s food systems, as well as those with expertise in environmental and land use issues.
View the Executive Order at: https://governor.vermont.gov/content/executive-order-no-03-21
New Vermont Farmers Panel Conversation - June 30, 2021
The Governor’s Commission on the Future of Agriculture in Vermont hosted a panel conversation with young and new Vermont farmers about their stories and visions for the future of agriculture on June 30, 3-4pm via Zoom. The conversation was moderated by Secretary Anson Tebbetts followed by Q&A with the members of the Future of Ag Commission and members of the VT Climate Council’s Agriculture and Ecosystem Subcommittee, and Payment for Ecosystem Services Working Group.
The diverse group of enthusiastic and entrepreneurial young farmer panelists shared specifics about their farm businesses and history in agriculture, challenges and opportunities they experience in the sector, and offer suggestions for the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Agriculture to consider to support a viable and robust agriculture future vision. We have posted this recording below: