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December 6, 2018

Joe Tisbert, President of Vermont Farm Bureau receives the 2017 John C. Finley Award from Kate Finley Woodruff at the Vermont Dairy Industry Association’s Annual Dairy Banquet at the Vermont Farm show on February 1, 2018

November 30, 2018 / Randolph, VT - The Vermont Dairy Industry Association has begun its search for the 2018 recipient of the John C. Finley Award.  This honor will be bestowed at the Dairy Farmers’ Banquet at the Vermont Farm Show on Thursday, January 31, 2019.

John Finley was a respected agricultural educator and a very enterprising and capable Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture before his untimely death.  The award given in his honor seeks to recognize an up and coming individual who meets similarly high standards of character and service to agriculture.

The qualifications to be met by the recipient of this award are as follows:

      1.  Must exhibit the outstanding character and mental vigor exemplified by John Finley.

      2.  Must have recently performed a distinguished service to Vermont Agriculture.

      3.  Must have the potential of continuing to contribute to Vermont Agriculture.

Your cooperation in helping to identify this year’s recipient is greatly appreciated.  A brief letter of nomination explaining how the nominee meets the qualifications for the award should be submitted to me in writing at Vermont Cheese Council, PO Box 165, Randolph, VT 05060 NO LATER THAN MONDAY DECEMBER 30, 2018.  Submission by e-mail at tom@vtcheese.com will also be accepted. 

All suggested candidates’ names will be held over for future consideration for a period of two (2) years.

Previous Finley Award recipients are listed below.

If you have any questions, please contact me at 802-451-8564.

Finley Award Recipients

  • 1977 Henry V. Atherton
  • 1978 J. Douglas Webb
  • 1979 Rupert Chamberlain
  • 1980 Norman Harvey
  • 1981 Catherine Beattie
  • 1982 Robert Foster
  • 1983 Gloria Conant
  • 1984 Donald F. George
  • 1985 George M. Dunsmore
  • 1986 Timothy F. Buskey
  • 1987 Austin C. Cleaves
  • 1988 K. Stewart Gibson
  • 1989 Lloyd H. Patterson
  • 1990 William D. Davis
  • 1991 Robert/Tay Simpson
  • 1992 Kate Finley Woodruff
  • 1993 Byron D. Moyer
  • 1994 Armand Dragon
  • 1995 Harold J. Howrigan      
  • 1996 Perry W. Hodgdon
  • 1997 Andy Dykstra
  • 1998 Andrew Meyers
  • 1999 Leon J. Berthiaume
  • 2000 Louise H. Calderwood
  • 2001 A. John Bramley
  • 2002 Jane Clifford
  • 2003 Teresa Doyle
  • 2004 Dr. Karen Plaut
  • 2005 Leon Graves
  • 2006 Diane Bothfeld
  • 2007 Allison Hooper
  • 2008 Jackie Folsom
  • 2009 Wanda Emerich
  • 2010 Enid Wonnacott
  • 2011 Dan Scruton
  • 2012 Robert Parsons
  • 2013 Thomas Gates
  • 2014 Greg Lockwood
  • 2015 Dr. Julie Smith
  • 2016 Roger Allbee
  • 2017 Joe Tisbert

 

November 28, 2018

Power Outages, Barn and Water Concerns now part of daily routine

November 28, 2018 / Montpelier, VT - Despite the calendar, winter seems to have arrived.  "A tough job gets even tougher this time of year,” Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets Secretary Anson Tebbetts commented after this week’s wintery weather.  “If getting up at 4am every day wasn’t tough enough, Mother Nature has now added heavy, wet snow to the roof of the barn!”

Winter weather conditions including snow, cold and winds present additional challenges for Vermont’s hard working farmers. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets wishes for all our farmers to remain safe while handling these added conditions to their daily routines.  Below are a number of reminders and resources for folks involved in our farming and working lands enterprises. 

  • Be prepared for power outages. A back-up generator with sufficient fuel to run for extended periods is highly recommended.
  • If it is safe to do so, shovel the snow off barn and house roofs.  If you cannot safely shovel your roof, contact a professional.  The weight of ice or rain added to the weight of the snow currently on roofs may exceed the capacity of the structure and lead to a roof collapse.  For helpful advice, please visit https://agriculture.vermont.gov/pr/agency_of_ag_issues_winter_reminder_to_farmers.
  • Apply sand or gravel to walkways used by workers or livestock.
  • Charge cellphones and cameras. Keep flashlights, with batteries, handy.
  • Pump and store adequate supplies of drinking water for humans and animals in case of power outages.  For a list of Vermont water haulers, please visit https://agriculture.vermont.gov/2018WaterHaulers.
  • Be prepared for delays on the road, including obstructed roadways, which may delay deliveries from suppliers .
  • If milk trucks are unable to reach farms, dairy farmers may exceed their holding capacity for stored milk.  If this is the case, be prepared to dispose of your excess milk in a suitable location.  Make sure to record the volume of milk.
  • The weight of ice on trees and branches may cause them to break off and fall onto buildings and equipment. Take steps in advance to mitigate the impact, if possible.
  • Farmers are urged to take preparations necessary to be self-sufficient for up to a week, including having enough feed and water for livestock or moving them to a safer location, if necessary.
  • The Vermont winter manure spreading ban will once again take effect on December 15th.  The ban continues until April 1.  Look for more information at http://agriculture.vermont.gov/sites/ag/files/RAPsummaryPDF.pdf .

A good time to refresh your fire prevention plan.

When checking your barns, farm shop and other outbuildings to make sure that they are properly prepared for colder weather, pay special attention to any source of supplemental heat as heating equipment is one of the biggest fire dangers on the farm.  Heating equipment needs to be properly installed and maintained to provide the warmth you want without increasing the fire risks. Old stoves may have cracks that can throw sparks, so be sure to determine if is still safe to fire up. Maintain a safe space around heating units with no combustibles within at least three feet.  More information is available here.

As always, Agency officials are available if you have any questions about any of these topics.

Secretary Tebbetts says the agency is listening and ready to respond.  “We want our farming community to know we recognize the challenges you face year-round, but certainly this time of year.  We’re here to help if needed.”

A great way to reach us if you have internet access is through our Facebook page.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/vtagencyofag/ or comment on this post at https://www.facebook.com/122396850343/posts/10161178289570344/ .  Other ways include:

  • By phone at (802) 828-2430;
  • Email at AGR.Helpdesk@vermont.gov;
  • If you have any questions about the upcoming manure spreading ban, or if you would like assistance in the selection of appropriate manure stacking sites, please call the Agency at (802) 828-3475.

 

November 26, 2018

Monday, November 26, 2018 / Jeffersonville, VT - After careful deliberation Monday, Governor Phil Scott chose three Vermont Christmas trees from a Jeffersonville tree farm. The trees will stand in the spirit of the holiday season at the Governor’s home and Montpelier office. 

In 1962 the Zajchowski family planted their first balsam fir seedlings, over time growing the land into the choose-and-cut Upper Pleasant Valley farm. In a timeless tradition, countless Vermonters continue to pick trees at the Lamoille County farm and many other Vermont tree farm destinations.

“In Vermont, we’re fortunate that ‘buy local’ extends to Christmas trees, so I encourage Vermonters to take advantage and decorate their homes and offices with Vermont-grown trees,” said Governor Phil Scott. “This season, we can not only support Vermont agriculture but celebrate Christmas and our state with a fresh tree.”

According to the latest figures there are more than 70 tree farms in Vermont, with 2000 acres in production.  The United States Department of Agriculture says the value of the Christmas Tree industry in Vermont is nearly $3 million dollars. “Nurturing Christmas trees to maturity takes a tremendous amount of shearing, mowing and trimming,” said Agriculture Food and Markets Secretary Anson Tebbetts. “We thank our tree farmers for their care of the land.”

Vermont holiday trees also decorate homes in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia each year, with thousands of Green Mountain trees sold in urban pop-up markets. In addition, visitors to Vermont participate in our holiday tradition by hauling home freshly cut trees. Governor Scott noted, “Just as visitors fill their cars with delicious locally-grown food and Vermont-made products, during the holiday season they top their cars with Vermont-grown trees.”

For a full listing of Christmas Tree Growers open to the public visit the Vermont and New Hampshire Christmas Tree Association. www.nh-vtchristmastree.org.

November 19, 2018

Op-Ed

By Secretary Anson Tebbetts

 

Giving Thanks for Farmers

The autumn harvest is complete and the season for giving thanks is here. Thanksgiving offers time for family and friends to reconnect, pause and enjoy a few hours together over a meal. As we picture our nation’s fields, forests and barns and the people who work within them, we thank our Vermont farmers for our bounty.

On Thursday, perhaps you will enjoy a fresh Vermont turkey, raised by your neighbor, purchased on-farm or through a coop or grocery store that is committed to offering local food. Or maybe your family prefers a roast of Vermont pork, chicken, lamb or beef. We have a cornucopia of choices, and Vermonters are fortunate to have so many ways to thank our farmers.

From parsnips to potatoes, Vermont farmers fill our Thanksgiving with fresh vegetables. It might be spuds smothered in Green Mountain butter or butternut squash doused in pure Vermont Maple. A farmer made it possible.

And of course, we would not be giving thanks in true celebration, without dessert. Our farmers top off the day with pumpkin, apple or mince pie and fresh dairy whipped or ice cream. It’s a sweet finish for a Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving is also a day to think of those less fortunate. Vermont farmers are always among the first to help those in need. They often are the first to contribute to their local food shelf or donate fresh products to a gleaning program. When neighbors help neighbors, their community impact is exponential.

Every Vermonter has the opportunity to give thanks to our farmers for their contributions to our land, water and mountains. They are the keepers of our landscape. Hard work and commitment to Vermont’s environment create open fields and scenic vistas. From stands of maple sugar bush to Christmas tree farms, every day farmers steward our land. Vermonters and visitors alike enjoy and rely on Vermont food, forest products and the space for recreation. We are thankful so much land is left open.

On this day, we also give thanks to all of you who support Vermont agriculture. Choosing local food at your coop or market; buying CSA shares, or supporting your farmer neighbor by visiting them to buy meat, eggs, baked goods, dairy and produce… we feed each other here, in the hills. Committing to local is meaningful and recognized by all of us invested in Vermont agriculture. 

We are blessed to have so many around the table thinking of our farmers on Thanksgiving. As we enjoy the food and companionship of Thanksgiving dinner, let us raise a glass - of fresh Vermont milk, cider, beer, wine or spirits - to our farmers. We toast their commitment to agriculture every day, on this day.

Cheers to you and yours, on this Thanksgiving day.

Anson Tebbetts

 

November 16, 2018

November 16, 2018 / Montpelier VT - Vermont Swine Producers - did you know you that you are eligible for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency? The Market Facilitation Program provides direct payments to help corn, cotton, sorghum, soybean, wheat, dairy, hog, shelled almonds and fresh sweet cherries producers who have been directly impacted by illegal retaliatory tariffs, resulting in the loss of traditional exports.

Payment for hog operations will be based on the total number of head of live hogs on the preferred date August 1, 2018; however, for the few producers for whom that date is not representative of the number of head of hogs that they own, those producers may choose any day to from July 15 through August 15, 2018, as the date for which the ownership is reported. Production records for hogs may include, but are not limited to, breeding records, inventory records, sales receipts, rendering receipts, or veterinary records.

Producers may apply for MFP through January 15, 2019. MFP applications are available online at www.farmers.gov/MFP and can be completed at a local FSA office or submitted electronically either by scanning, emailing, or faxing.

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