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‘Dig Deep Vermont’ Campaign Launches Today

January 17, 2024
Dig Deep Vermont

Supporting Vermont Family Farms Enduring the Lasting Impacts of the 2023 Severe Weather & Floods

MONTPELIER, VT (January 17, 2024) – In the wake of the catastrophic 2023 severe weather and floods that caused widespread damage along Vermont waterways, several business and government leaders are stepping up for farms fighting to remain solvent. Threats to solvency include potentially permanent seasonal and perennial crop damage, inadequate winter feed supplies for animals, financial ruin from lost harvests necessary to pay loans, and irreparable damage to equipment and facilities.

This new fundraising campaign, envisioned by a group of agriculture supporters working in concert with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets (VAAFM) and championed by the Vermont Association of Broadcasters (VAB), Ski Vermont, the Association of Vermont Credit Unions and a dedicated alliance of local and out-of-state private enterprises, will make donations to local communities possible through a first-in-the-country crisis response template.

The group aims to reach most Vermonters and visitors to Vermont over the coming year and raise funds in and for every county with recovering farms identified by the Severe Weather and Flooding Loss & Damage Survey developed by VAAFM. The campaign goal is to raise $20 million with the need being far greater at nearly $45 million, according to the VAAFM.

To help provide relief for more than 350 family farms across the state, the VAB officially launched the ‘Dig Deep Vermont’ campaign today in collaboration with its supporting groups as well as Governor Phil Scott and Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts.

“Vermont’s farms faced significant challenges this year from freezing to floods,” said Vermont Governor Phil Scott. “The loss is significant, and farmers need our help. We must work to support our ag economy and the local economies in every Vermont county.”

A Call to Action

“We tapped companies and associations with a deep connection to Vermont agriculture to help,” said Joe Bergeron, CEO of the Vermont Association of Credit Unions, one of the initiators of the Dig Deep Vermont campaign. “We are joined with the Vermont Association of Broadcasters, and the Vermont Ski Areas Association to ensure we ask every Vermont resident, visitor, and college alum to give back to those who have tended the land and landscapes which nurture us on so many levels.”

“Vermont’s ski industry has a long history of supporting the state’s working landscape because agriculture is so central to the fabric of Vermont,” said Ski Vermont President Molly Mahar. “Our shared sense of community is one of the things that makes living in—and visiting—Vermont such a unique experience. Ski areas and their staff are members of these communities, and in a way so are the skiers and riders who return each year. Most of Vermont’s skier visits come from out-of-state, and we are working with member areas to encourage all visitors to join in supporting our neighbors.”

Secretary Tebbetts said he is grateful for the support from Vermonters as well as those out of state companies who helped develop the campaign, most significantly, GIVIO, which empowers individuals to contribute anytime, anywhere. The funds raised will be distributed by the Vermont Farm Bureau, with advice from VAAMF and others, to affected farms in each county until the campaign concludes August 1, 2024. Farmers seeking assistance should fill out the Dig Deep Vermont Farm Assistance Request Form on the Dig Deep Vermont website.

The Need is Real and Critical – Highlights:

  • Over 27,000 acres of vital farmland have been adversely impacted by the severe weather this summer and during November and December 2023
  • Total Vermont agriculture related losses reported by farmers to VAAFM could reach $40 million, threatening the livelihoods of countless farmers and farm related businesses.
  • A livestock feed crisis jeopardizes the well-being of all Vermont's farm animals.
  • Crop loss had severe impacts on many produce and flower/herb farms in Vermont, with multiple reporting 90% or more reduced income.
  • Overwhelming financial burdens remain after the widespread destruction of crops, often paid for in advance with borrowed funds.
  • The destruction of essential farm equipment, tractors, tools, and fields that have been washed away by the flooding impedes recovery.
  • Hundreds of employee layoffs at a critical time add to the economic, social, and mental/physical health tolls farmers are experiencing as they enter the challenging winter months. Link to VAAFM Severe Flood Survey: VAAFM Flood Survey Results

“We are grateful to the generous developers of this campaign model at GIVIO along with my own team at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets, Driven Studio, Unified Strategies Public Relations Network, and Image Relay, Tebbetts said. “I applaud their initiative in helping us meet this need. Each group has given their time, money, and resources to pull this off because they know that farming is at the heart our Vermont values. And I’m especially grateful to Farm Credit East and Farrell Distributing to help us launch the campaign today.”

Click here to donate now: Dig Deep Vermont

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Dig Deep Vermont QR Code