Agency of Agriculture Launches Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program
July 17, 2020 | Montpelier, VT — On Tuesday this week, Governor Phil Scott and Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) Secretary Anson Tebbetts announced the opening of the first of three economic relief programs for the agriculture community under the Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program (VCAAP). The application for the VCAAP Dairy Assistance Program is now open. The Vermont State Legislature appropriated $25 million in State Coronavirus Relief Funds for the Dairy Assistance Application for eligible dairy producer and processor applicants who have experienced income loss, additional expenses, and market disruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vermont’s dairy sector has been impacted by steep declines in milk prices coupled with increased operating costs and lost markets when restaurants, stores and institutions closed due to COVID-19. These grants will provide financial assistance to Vermont dairy farmers—including cow, goat, and sheep’s milk producers—as well as to processors who make cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream, and other valued-added dairy products. Applicants must demonstrate economic losses and costs incurred since March 1, 2020 that are related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
“Agriculture is critical to Vermont’s future,” said VAAFM Secretary Anson Tebbetts. “Helping our farmers and agricultural businesses survive is good for the state’s economy while providing consumers with access to fresh, healthy, local food options.“
Dairy producers and processors are encouraged to visit the VAAFM website to learn about eligibility, start an application, and access Dairy Assistance Application webinars on July 21, 22, and 23. The deadline to apply for a Dairy Assistance grant is October 1, 2020.
VAAFM will also provide State Coronavirus Relief Funding to other agricultural and working lands businesses, and to Vermont’s agricultural fairs, through the Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program. These additional assistance programs for the agricultural community who have experienced economic losses and costs due to the COVID-19 public health emergency will be available soon. Details about the VCAAP Dairy Application and other assistance programs can be found on the VAAFM website at agriculture.vermont.gov/covid-19-information/vermont-covid-19-agriculture-assistance-program.