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November 1, 2018

Adams Turkey Farm in Westford, VT

Thanksgiving Dinner Preparations Start on Vermont’s Farms

Now is the time to plan your purchase!

November 1, 2018 / Montpelier VT - As the Thanksgiving holiday season approaches, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets and the Vermont Fresh Network wish to remind those planning for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that Vermont’s local turkey growers are ready to help.  The time to order your local bird is now!

Vermont is home to more than a dozen turkey farms across the state, raising and producing local turkeys ready just in time for Thanksgiving and the holiday season.  According to the National Turkey Federation, nearly 88 percent of Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving. The average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving is 16 pounds, meaning that approximately 736 million pounds of turkey were consumed in the United States during Thanksgiving in 2016.  In Vermont, nearly 48,000 turkeys and chickens were produced in 2016. 

To help locate your dream bird, check out Vermont Fresh Network’s Turkey Finder for 2018. 

“Vermont’s hard-working farmers prepare for Thanksgiving all year, raising and caring for Vermont fresh turkeys and poultry for the holiday feast,”  said Governor Phil Scott. “We are grateful to them for their commitment to local food and Vermont’s working landscape, and give thanks that farming employs so many Vermonters – with 64,000 working in the food economy.”

Vermont turkey farms are dedicated to producing the safest and healthiest poultry possible for the holidays.  Some points to remember about buying a locally raised bird:

  • all turkeys are hormone and steroid free;
  • USDA and state inspected turkeys are produced with sanitary guidelines to assure products are wholesome, unadulterated, and properly marked, labeled, and packaged;
  • USDA and state inspected turkeys are randomly sampled for antibiotic residue testing through the National Residue Program;
  • If FDA approved antibiotics are used there is a specific withdrawal time period the producer adheres to prior to the turkey being slaughtered.

Additionally, USDA provides helpful guidance for the preparation and safe roasting of your turkey: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/poultry-preparation/lets-talk-turkey/CT_Index

While turkey is the headline of Thanksgiving holiday dinner, the side dishes are the ever-important accoutrements, and the Vermont Fresh Network can help you find local producers for any side dish, including a local wine and cider pairing guide. You can find a list of Vermont Thanksgiving-week farmers markets and other local food resources by visiting http://www.vermontfresh.net/.

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Contacts:

Tara Pereira

Vermont Fresh Network

Communications Director

tara@vermontfresh.net

802-999-6137

October 25, 2018

Vermont’s State Veterinarian Becomes President of USAHA

Dr. Kristin Haas will Guide National Animal Health Organization

October 25, 2018 / Montpelier VT – Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets (VAAFM) State Veterinarian and Director of Food Safety and Consumer Protection, Dr. Kristin Haas, assumed the role of United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) President upon the conclusion of the group’s annual meeting yesterday, October 24th in Kansas City, Missouri.  

Hired by VAAFM in 2007, Dr. Haas has guided the Food Safety and Consumer Protection Division protecting Vermont consumers, livestock and poultry industries for 11 years.  Dr. Haas works closely with Vermont veterinarians, farmers and state officials to monitor potential public safety and consumer protection issues.

Two achievements mark Dr. Haas’ time as Vermont’s State Veterinarian.  She implemented the Vermont Food Animal Veterinary Education Loan Repayment Program, which helps ensure adequate food animal veterinary coverage across the State. Haas also brought the Food Armor® program to Vermont, which provides education and technical assistance to veterinarians and farmers regarding judicious use of veterinary medications in food-producing animals.

“I’m excited to continue contributing to the national conversation around animal health and food safety with a new platform,” Haas said.  “I enjoy the professional collaboration and potential to have an impact on a large scale, so I feel as though this important role supports the agriculture industry in Vermont, and across all 50 states.”

Comprised of 1,100 members, the USAHA is a science-based, non-profit, voluntary organization of state and federal animal health officials, national allied organizations, regional representatives, and individual members. USAHA works with state and federal governments, universities, veterinarians, livestock producers, national livestock and poultry organizations, research scientists, the extension service and several foreign countries to control livestock diseases in the United States. USAHA represents all 50 states, 4 foreign countries and 34 allied groups serving health, technical and consumer markets.  More about this important association can be found here.

For more on the VAAFM Food Safety & Consumer Protection Division, please visit here.

October 22, 2018

Vendors Report Record Visitors and Added Business

Montpelier, Vt. – The “Big E” was a big win for Vermont. While the Eastern States Exposition, or “The Big E,” wrapped up for 2018, data collected by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets reinforces the value the event returns to Vermont and its agricultural economy.

“Agriculture plays such an important role in Vermont’s economy and our culture,” said Governor Phil Scott. “The Big E is a great way to promote all Vermont has to offer – from our agricultural products, tourism and outdoor recreation opportunities to the many good jobs available here in the state.”

The Vermont Building at The Big E showcases the authenticity, quality and spirit of Vermont. Each year, more than 30 companies from across Vermont head to West Springfield to share their products with fair-goers who appreciate the high-quality products on sale in the Vermont Building. For 17 days each September, the building is a feast for the senses, from the sweet smell of hot cider donuts to the warm comfy texture of authentic Vermont flannel.

“The Vermont Building at the Big E is a direct connection to markets outside of Vermont, and an opportunity to showcase why travelers should visit Vermont,” said Alyson Eastman, DeputySecretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets. “We love seeing people at the Vermont Building in Massachusetts because it helps us connect them to our agricultural businesses and working lands here in Vermont, which translates to new business and increasing market size.”

A look at the numbers shows the value year-to-year to Vermont’s agricultural economy:

Total Sales: 

2018: $1,848,097.47 

2017: $1,810,528.83 

Attendance:

2018: 1,543,380 

2017: 1,525,613

Link to Daily Attendance: https://www.thebige.com/p/generalinfo/mediacenter/attendance

Vermont Vendors:

2018:  28 vendors, 20 full-time and 8 rotating

2017:  29 vendors, 23 full-time and 6 rotating

 

There were six record-breaking days this year and Vermont Day on Saturday, September 22 was one for the record books. Attendance set an all-time record with 172,659 people coming through the gates on the day officially recognizing Vermont. The success of the building would not be possible without partnership from the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, who staff the Vermont booth, and the Department of Buildings and General Services, who are responsible for the beautiful improvements to the building. More information about the Big E and Vermont’s participation can be found here.

Any Vermont vendors wishing to explore participation in the Vermont Building at the Big E next year should contact the Senior Market Development Specialist at 802-505-5413 orlauren.masseria@vermont.gov.

Click here to view a Big E summary one-page info sheet

PHOTOS:

Governor Phil Scott and members of the Agency of Agriculture outside the Vermont Building

Vermont Building vendor welcomes Governor Phil Scott to the Big E

Governor Scott tests his woodworking skills at the Big E

Governor Scott tours the Vermont Building at the Big E

 

October 17, 2018

Vermont is clearing a path for a new tasting trail that will encompass two countries, two states, and two provinces. A collaborative effort among officials from Vermont, New York, Quebec, and Ontario will link authentic farms and food experiences across the region.

(Click Here For More Photos)

On Tuesday, officials from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM), the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing (VDTM), University of Vermont (UVM) Extension, and the Vermont Fresh Network joined partners from around the region on a Canadian Culinary Tour to learn more about agritourism efforts and opportunities for farms and food producers.

“Vermont has a deep agricultural heritage, we are known world-wide for our fine food and beverage products that come from the land. We also have a robust tourism industry, bringing $2.8 billion in spending to the state,” said Commissioner Wendy Knight, Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing.

Officials hope a new trail connecting Vermont with New York and Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, will create a new global tourist destination.

Listening and learning from farm tours already operating in Canada will help Vermont officials develop a trail to showcase the authentic farm-to-table experience that can be found throughout Vermont, eventually forming an international culinary trail, the first of its kind. The Lake Champlain Tasting Trail is Vermont’s segment of this international trail.

“It’s exciting to look to our neighbors to North and see great models of how to align businesses, farms and restaurants and create an opportunity for people to follow their senses through a community and connect to different products and the landscape,” said Abbey Willard, Agriculture Development director with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.

“By working with our friends and neighbors in New York and Canada we have an opportunity to make our region a global destination for people interested in agritourism and culinary excellence. Together this effort can help improve the communities and economies in Vermont, New York and Canada,” said Chuck Ross, Director of UVM Extension.

This initiative is an example of Governor Scott’s priority on cross-border travel and trade which was recently affirmed in a Cooperative Agreement between Vermont and Quebec.  

• For more on the Lake Champlain Tasting Trail, please click here.

• Anyone interested in creating his or her own personalized tour of the Lake Champlain Tasting Trail can visit DigInVt.com.

 

October 16, 2018

Important Deadline Nears for those Enrolled in Current Use Program

Current Agricultural Enrollees Must Certify by November 1, 2018

October 16, 2018 / Montpelier, VT - Landowners who have agricultural land and/or farm buildings enrolled in the Current Use program face an important deadline on November 1, 2018. Landowners currently enrolled must certify that their agricultural land and farm buildings continue to meet the requirements for the Current Use program. Landowners who are unsure whether or not they need to file the agriculture certificate, may look up their SPAN using the online search found here

The Vermont Department of Taxes has mailed a form to each enrolled landowner at the address it has on file. A landowner must complete, sign, mail or hand deliver the form to the Tax Department by November 1. Failure to certify by the deadline will result in the removal of agricultural land and enrolled farm buildings form the Current Use program.

“This is an important deadline to meet. We encourage all those enrolled to make sure they have filled out the paperwork and return it to the tax department,” said Tax Commissioner Kaj Samson.

When the land and buildings are removed from the program, property taxes are then based upon the assessed value of the property, not the use value, which will most likely increase property taxes for the landowner.

“The Current Use program is a valuable and critical program for Vermont’s farmers. It’s important this enrollment deadline is met,” said Anson Tebbetts, Vermont Secretary of Agriculture.

Mail or hand-deliver your completed forms to The Vermont Department of Taxes, 133 State Street, 1st Floor, Montpelier, VT 05602. Any questions about the Current Use program should be directed to the Current Use division of the Vermont Department of Taxes at tax.currentuse@vermont.gov or (802) 828-5860 Option 2.

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