Blog

May 15, 2018

From Vermont’s inception, freedom and unity have spurred innovation. John Deere invented the tractor. Ben and Jerry created world-class ice cream.  Environmental leaders like George Perkins Marsh defined conservation. The state’s rich history highlights how Vermonters and their values have led the way.

Innovation continues today. Farmers are working with engineers, scientists and researchers on projects that improve the environment while improving their finances. Biodigesters transform manure to electricity. Perennial plants and grasses transform bare soils into buffers to protect rivers, and lasers help milk cows. 

Our next challenge is phosphorous innovation. Phosphorus is essential for plant growth, and both human and animal health. Too much phosphorus can be harmful to our waterways.  Farmers deploy a bevy of conservation measures to keep phosphorous on their fields. Adopting these best management practices to protect water has also improved soil. And efforts are currently underway to spark further innovation in phosphorus management, building on that progress.

Governor Phil Scott has challenged the agencies of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Commerce to find engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs who can work with farmers to deploy new and innovative approaches to capture and reuse phosphorus.  That innovation could take the form of extracting phosphorus from manure, processing waste to produce energy, and perhaps generating revenue and creating jobs. Possible approaches include production of compost, fertilizers and bio-char. There are many companies working on these solutions and, through the Phosphorus Innovation Challenge, Vermont is at the table.

In phase one of this project the state has made $250,000 available for “proof-of-concept” grants to support several projects. The state is accepting proposals for this seed money over the next two months. A panel comprised of scientists, entrepreneurs, and business experts will help guide the selection. If you would like to take up the challenge, we look forward to hearing from you!

We know that achieving Vermont’s clean water goals will require us to deploy both traditional conservation measures and new methods and ideas. We look forward to a day when products or processes that ensure clean water and farm viability are the standard, taking their place alongside other tools on our farms, many of which have their roots in Vermont. Freedom and unity includes innovation which continues to move Vermont forward, as it has for centuries, improving our environment, families and communities.

Secretary Anson Tebbetts  

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

Secretary Julie Moore

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources

Secretary Mike Shirling

Vermont Department of Commerce and Community Development

For more information about the Phosphorus Innovation Challenge, visit: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/phosphorus_challenge

May 13, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 11, 2018

MONTPELIER - Motorists in the areas of Plainfield, Groton, Calais, Williamstown, Washington, and Barre may notice new flashing road signs reading “Don’t move ash firewood beyond this point.” The signs are part of an inter-agency partnership between the Agency of Transportation, the Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation (VTFPR) and the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (AAFM) to slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), which has been detected in the vicinity.  Signs are located on state highways and are visible to motorists leaving the EAB-infested areas.

EAB’s most common and damaging mode of transportation is by hitching a ride on firewood into a new area. To slow the spread, VTFPR is recommending that no ash firewood that has not been heat-treated be transported out of the known infested area, including loads of mixed firewood that may include ash logs that were harvested within the infested area. Ash firewood may be transported within the infested area.

The signs will be in place through Memorial Day weekend. In addition to their message, they serve as a visual reminder of where the borders of the infested area lie.

Vermonters outside the EAB-infested area and throughout the state should always ask their firewood dealer where the wood is coming from. The rule of thumb is to not move any untreated firewood more than 50 miles, and Vermonters living outside the infested area can do their part to slow the spread of EAB by making sure they are not purchasing infested ash.

EAB overwinter as larvae under the bark of ash trees where they feed on the inner bark tissue. Once infested, ash trees rapidly decline and are killed in 3-5 years. This pest is known to be established in 32 states and three Canadian provinces, and is responsible for widespread decline and mortality of hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America.

Vermonters are encouraged to look for signs and symptoms of the emerald ash borer and report suspicious findings onVTinvasives.org. Detailed information about the pest and what to look for may be found at the same website. Vermonters can also learn more about what EAB damage looks like and how to report a potential sighting by visiting http://agriculture.vermont.gov/Emerald_Ash_Borer. Video and pictures of EAB damage in Vermont can also be found there.  Private land owners looking for information about managing ash in woodlots and UVA (current use) plans should contact their county forester, contacts for which can be found at http://fpr.vermont.gov.

CONTACT: 

Jenny Lauer, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation

 

(802) 828-1531, jenny.lauer@vermont.gov

May 11, 2018

A flight filled with producers, marketers, media members and food entrepreneurs made its way from Burlington to our nation's capital early Thursday morning. The big event: The 13th Annual Taste of Vermont, put on by the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted by U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy.

While Vermont's finest food leaders started preparations for the highly anticipated affair, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets Secretary Anson Tebbetts spent the day meeting with members from Vermont’s congressional delegation and The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) about critical issues impacting Vermont’s farmers and producers.

The Farm Bill was the focus. What can be done to help grow Vermont’s agricultural economy? Secretary Tebbetts spoke with partners about proposed FDA labeling laws, industrial hemp legislation, produce safety, conservation programs and the state of the dairy industry.

After filling up on some of Vermont’s finest, the sun set over The Hill. The next stop: The Green Mountain State. It was a day well spent in Washington, bringing home new ideas, concepts and work to get done, to help our farmers and producers who work hard for Vermont.

Visiting Congressman Peter Welch with Matt Gordon and Amanda Voyer from the Vermont Maple Sugarmakers' Association along with Roger Cochran and his son from Slopeside Syrup. Go Red Sox!

Not a bad spot for the Secretay to answer some emails and send some Tweets!

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) headquarters are in Arlington, Virginia. Secretary Tebbetts met with Dr. Barb Glenn, Chief Executive Officer.

A qucik walk around a farmers' market in Arlington right outside the NASDA offices.

Checking out the dairy selection at the Arlington farmers' market.

Flowers full bloom in the National Garden.

Senator Patrick Leahy, the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce and Vermont producers put in a lot of work to make "The Taste of Vermont," such a great event.

The Kennedy Caucus Room at the Russell Senate Office Building filled to the brim.

This is what Vermont tastes like! #ThinkVT

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, his wife Marcelle and grandson "little" Patrick thank everyone for coming.


 

Vermont's congressional delegation working together to showcase Vermont's high quality products.

Administartor for EPA's New England Region Alexandra Dunn, Vermont Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.

Secretary Tebbetts with John and Jennifer Kimmich from the Alchemist Brewery.

Secretary Tebbetts with Andrea Gagner from 14th Star Brewing Company.

TV News Anchor Lauren Maloney interviews Secretary Tebbetts about Vermont's food and beverage products.

Secretary Tebbetts meets with Vermont State Society.

Senator Leahy, Marcelle and Sam Cutting IV and Nancy Cutting from Dakin Farm.

A rainbow as the sun sets on The Capitol.

WATCH MORE:

 

May 8, 2018

A member of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets was honored at the state Public Service Recognition Celebration on Tuesday at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.

Faith Raymond was honored by the state for the important role she plays in growing Vermont’s farm economy. As a member of the Agricultural Development Division, she is often the first contact who can lead to economic assistance for farmers, producers, small companies and the public. Faith’s “can do” attitude is critical to customers as they grow their farms or companies, and the valuable information she provides to the public helps them make the best possible decisions in a timely manner.

Faith also goes out of her way to promote agriculture as an editor with the Agency’s newspaper, Agriview. This monthly publication is regarded as the “bible” for farmers as they rely on it for updates on programs, regulations and events. Faith’s leadership in the agriculture community and beyond is making a difference today and will for years to come.

Vemront Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts thanked Faith and other state employees for their service.

 

 

 

 

May 8, 2018

From Vermont’s inception, freedom and unity have spurred innovation. John Deere invented the tractor. Ben and Jerry created world-class ice cream.  Environmental leaders like George Perkins Marsh defined conservation. The state’s rich history highlights how Vermonters and their values have led the way.

Innovation continues today. Farmers are working with engineers, scientists and researchers on projects that improve the environment while improving their finances. Biodigesters transform manure to electricity. Perennial plants and grasses transform bare soils into buffers to protect rivers, and lasers help milk cows.  

Our next challenge is phosphorous innovation. Phosphorus is essential for plant growth, and both human and animal health. Too much phosphorus can be harmful to our waterways.  Farmers deploy a bevy of conservation measures to keep phosphorous on their fields. Adopting these best management practices to protect water has also improved soil. And efforts are currently underway to spark further innovation in phosphorus management, building on that progress.

Governor Phil Scott has challenged the agencies of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Commerce to find engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs who can work with farmers to deploy new and innovative approaches to capture and reuse phosphorus.  That innovation could take the form of extracting phosphorus from manure, processing waste to produce energy, and perhaps generating revenue and creating jobs. Possible approaches include production of compost, fertilizers and bio-char. There are many companies working on these solutions and, through the Phosphorus Innovation Challenge, Vermont is at the table.

In phase one of this project the state has made $250,000 available for “proof-of-concept” grants to support several projects. The state is accepting proposals for this seed money over the next two months. A panel comprised of scientists, entrepreneurs, and business experts will help guide the selection. If you would like to take up the challenge, we look forward to hearing from you!

We know that achieving Vermont’s clean water goals will require us to deploy both traditional conservation measures and new methods and ideas. We look forward to a day when products or processes that ensure clean water and farm viability are the standard, taking their place alongside other tools on our farms, many of which have their roots in Vermont. Freedom and unity includes innovation which continues to move Vermont forward, as it has for centuries, improving our environment, families and communities.

Click here for timeline and details for interested parties. 

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