Blog

July 11, 2018

Attention Vermont produce growers! A new feature has been added to the state's Produce Portal. When you sign up for the portal, you can download Produce Safety Rule Resources.  

Available resources include:

  • Determining Coverage under the Produce Safety Rule
  • Produce Safety Rule Required Record Templates: Worker Training Record Template Cleaning and Sanitizing Record Template, Compost Treatment Record Template, Qualified Exemption Annual Review and Verification Worksheet (for qualified exempt farms)
  • What to Expect During an On-Farm Readiness Review
  • What to Expect During a Produce Safety Rule Inspection
  • Agricultural Water Testing Laboratories & Sampling Recommendations
  • And more!

To login to the Vermont Produce Portal and view the resources available:

*How to create a user account in the Vermont Produce Portal

If you do not yet have a login you can create a username and password by following these instructions:

  • Visit https://cloud.agriculture.vermont.gov/FSMA/Pages/Login.aspx
  • Click on “Register”
  • Fill out the required fields marked with *
  • Submit the form by clicking on the grey “Register” button
  • Once registered you can add your farm’s contact information by clicking on the “Manage Farms” and “New Farm” buttons

If you have any questions, please contact the Vermont Produce Program at AGR.FSMA@vermont.gov or (802) 828-2433. Vermont Produce Program Growing Produce Safety on Vermont Farms http://agriculture.vermont.gov/produceprogram

July 10, 2018
 
July 10, 2018 / Montpelier VT - At the end of the 2018 Vermont legislative session, a number of bills important to the state’s agricultural community became law.  The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets worked closely with the legislature and administration to bring attention to Vermont’s important rural economy. These new laws help make Vermont more affordable, take care of the most vulnerable, and grow the Vermont economy. 
 
Below is a partial list of these new laws. 
 
H.16 - An act relating to making appropriations for the support of government, financing education, and vital records. 
  • The Farm to School program will receive an additional $50,000 in fiscal year 2019; 
  • Vermont Working Lands Enterprise program will receive an additional $106,000 in fiscal year 2019; 
  • Vermont will provide a minimum of $600, not to exceed total premium paid, to dairy producers to        offset costs for participation in the 2018 Federal Margin Protection Program. The AAFM will                administer the reimbursement grant program.  Total funds allocated are $450,000. 
  • Vermont Housing and Conservation Board will receive, $75,000, to continue to provide grant writing assistance for rural development. 
  • The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) received $250,000 to be used by VEDA’s agricultural subsidiary the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC) for a loss reserve in the 2018 Farm Operating Program, which provides Vermont cow dairy farmers with long-term loans for operating expenses.  
 
Act 194 (S.276) – An act relating to rural economic development. 
  • Amends the authority of the Rural Economic Development Initiative to focus on providing grant assistance in small towns and rural areas; 
  • Requires the AAFM to go through rulemaking to establish a process to certify nutrient management technical service providers; 
  • Grants AAFM authority to enforce FDA's produce safety rules; and 
  • Amends livestock transport law to provide greater clarity to producers. 
   
Act 143 (H.663) – An act relating to municipal regulation of accessory on-farm businesses and hemp cultivation 
  • Authorizes and limits municipal land use regulation of an "accessory on-farm business" as defined in the law; 
  • Amends industrial hemp law by creating a pilot program for research, cultivation, and marketing; and 
  • Allows registered industrial hemp growers to purchase hemps seeds or import hemp genetics from any state that complies with federal requirements for the cultivation of industrial hemp. 
  • Gives authority to the AAFM to establish a cannabis quality control program to test for potency, containments and verify label guarantees of hemp and hemp infused products, and to certify other testing laboratories.
 
Act 168 (S.260) – An act relating to funding the cleanup of State waters. 
  • Renames the Clean Water Fund Board to the Clean Water Board and increases membership on the Board; 
  • Directs that state agencies coordinated water quality grant awards; 
  • Directs AAFM to coordinate with ANR on the development and implementation of a response plan to a designated lake in crisis, enforce relevant agricultural requirements therein, and provide financial assistance for agricultural compliance with the lake in crisis order; and  
  • Directs the AAFM to report on the future of farming practices. 
 
These are just a few of the highlights of the 2018 session. The Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets would like to thank the agriculture community and public for their input. Secretary Anson Tebbetts said, “It was a productive session for Vermont’s farm community. Many thanks to our partners who helped us along the way.  We know this is just the start and we remained focused on improving Vermont’s rural economy. These new laws will help grow our economy and make Vermont more affordable.”
 
Deputy Secretary Alyson Eastman added, “The new funding and new laws will make a difference to our farmers. We have a strong relationship with the legislature and we want to thank lawmakers for that important partnership. We look forward to building on these programs in the coming months with the help of Governor Scott and the General Assembly.”
For questions, please contact:
 
Scott Waterman
Policy and Communications Director / Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
Office 802-828-2179 | Cell 802-622-4662 
 
July 5, 2018

A Guide to Growing Your Business with Social Media

Don’t miss this special opportunity to sharpen your social media skills! The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets and Northshire Grows Inc. is hosting a FREE, interactive Social Media workshop led by marketing experts from People Making Good Public Relations in Burlington. 
 
WHEN:          Wednesday, July 25, 2018 from 5 PM – 7PM
 
WHERE:        Hildene Welcome Center, Beckwith Room, Manchester Village
            
This FREE learning session will offer farmers and producers the knowledge, skills and tools necessary to better promote and market themselves and their products. Southern Vermont is filled with small businesses that are generating high-quality agricultural products. There is a strong demand for these products across New England, presenting an opportunity for businesses to branch out and grow. Proximity to large markets like Boston and New York City adds to this potential. Does this opportunity resonate with you?

Farm and food business owners often say:

  • I don’t want to brag about myself
  • I’m way too busy to use social media
  • I’m intimidated when it comes to promotion and technology
  • I’m unsure about the return on investment that social media offers
  • I’m confused about how to make social media work for my business

Come learn how to share your Vermont story, feature and promote the products and people associated with your business and showcase the dedication and hard work that goes into making your products so delicious and desirable. Nicole Ravlin, principal at People Making Good will address your concerns and explain why a presence on Social Media is critical to your business. She will also provide useful examples and tips on ways to use Social Media to get the word out about your business and its products. Explore which social media channels might be most beneficial for you and which Social Media techniques and tools will help connect your business with a larger audience. In addition to this excellent training, we all have awesome snacks on hand!

RSVP HERE!

Questions?

Contact liz@northshiregrows.org or at 802-379-4013

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets is proud to partner with

on this professional development opportunity for southern Vermont's farm and business sector.

 

 

June 29, 2018

The United States Congress is currently debating the 2018 Farm Bill.  It has passed the House and Senate and is in the final phases of negotiation to work out differences between the Houses of Congress.  Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets Secretary Anson Tebbetts reviews the bill and explains why, if passed and signed into law, it will be good for Vermont farmers and the state's economy.

This summer, in Washington D.C., Congress is debating the national 2018 Farm Bill, one of the most important policy decisions of the decade. It’s a critical piece of legislation that will define the priorities for the next five years for the agriculture economy in Vermont, and the nation.

The Farm Bill also includes a host of programs that will improve the environment.  Conservation programs are critical to Vermont farmers and the state’s natural beauty. Farmers are focused on bettering our natural environment and are investing in best management practices - but it’s not possible to do it alone. The proposed Farm Bill offers critical financial and policy support that will prevent runoff and lead to cleaner water. 

The Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets and our partners have been working closely with Vermont’s congressional delegation on a host of issues that are important to Vermont. The Vermont Milk Commission sent a series of recommendations to Senators Leahy and Sanders, and Congressman Welch. We are pleased to report that some of those suggestions are included in the proposed legislation, including a suggestion regarding dairy risk coverage. Also, as Senator Patrick Leahy led the charge in recent improvements to the Margin Protection Program, Governor Phil Scott and Vermont’s legislative leaders at the same time demonstrated Vermont’s support by putting $450,000 from state funds into the program. As dairy farmers struggle with low prices for their milk this credit helps offer relief by partially paying for premiums. These improvements and more are included in the 2018 Farm Bill, offering critical support as farmers weather one of the most difficult economic storms in decades.

Improving the rural economy is also part of the proposed farm bill. Small, rural farms are feeding the nation. The Senate Farm bill supports local food programs, specialty food producers and our maple industry while making investments in research and product development, all of which are tied to country businesses, including so many in Vermont.

Vermont is also leading the way to new ground that has been undiscovered by federal regulators. We are planting new crops and building on innovation to grow businesses. In 2018, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets registered nearly 300 hemp farmers with more than 2,000 acres in production. Hemp could offer Vermont farmers a new source of income by turning the durable plant into food, fiber or fuel. A law signed by Governor Scott this year will build upon this hemp program in Vermont allowing more seeds to be imported to the Green Mountain State. But we need help from Washington D.C.: Vermont is demanding that Congress remove hemp from the federal list of controlled substances. This critical change would allow Vermont farmers to focus more of their energy into farming without worrying about their crops coming up against justice department regulations.

These are just a few of the headlines from the Senate’s proposed 2018 Farm Bill. Support for nutrition programs or helping our organic farmers would also go a long way; there are many more elements that will help our economy.

We appreciate our partners and Vermont’s Congressional delegation, all of whom have helped advance the 2018 Farm Bill. We advocate for this bill to become law because it builds upon our priorities in Vermont: Making Vermont more affordable, improving our economy and protecting the state’s most vulnerable.  Washington D.C. is listening and we are confident that they stand ready to help rural America, and rural Vermont, continue to innovate and succeed.   

Anson Tebbetts is the Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, Food & Markets.  
June 29, 2018

The United States Congress is currently debating the 2018 Farm Bill.  It has passed the Senate and is now in the House for debate and a vote.  Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets Secretary Anson Tebbetts reviews the bill and explains why if passed and signed into law, it will be good for Vermont farmers and the state's economy.

This summer, in Washington D.C., Congress is debating the national 2018 Farm Bill, one of the most important policy decisions of the decade. It’s a critical piece of legislation that will define the priorities for the next five years for the agriculture economy in Vermont, and the nation.

The Farm Bill also includes a host of programs that will improve the environment.  Conservation programs are critical to Vermont farmers and the state’s natural beauty. Farmers are focused on bettering our natural environment and are investing in best management practices - but it’s not possible to do it alone. The proposed Farm Bill offers critical financial and policy support that will prevent runoff and lead to cleaner water. 

The Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets and our partners have been working closely with Vermont’s congressional delegation on a host of issues that are important to Vermont. The Vermont Milk Commission sent a series of recommendations to Senators Leahy and Sanders, and Congressman Welch. We are pleased to report that some of those suggestions are included in the proposed legislation, including a suggestion regarding dairy risk coverage. Also, as Senator Patrick Leahy led the charge in recent improvements to the Margin Protection Program, Governor Phil Scott and Vermont’s legislative leaders at the same time demonstrated Vermont’s support by putting $450,000 from state funds into the program. As dairy farmers struggle with low prices for their milk this credit helps offer relief by partially paying for premiums. These improvements and more are included in the 2018 Farm Bill, offering critical support as farmers weather one of the most difficult economic storms in decades.

Improving the rural economy is also part of the proposed farm bill. Small, rural farms are feeding the nation. The Senate Farm bill supports local food programs, specialty food producers and our maple industry while making investments in research and product development, all of which are tied to country businesses, including so many in Vermont.

Vermont is also leading the way to new ground that has been undiscovered by federal regulators. We are planting new crops and building on innovation to grow businesses. In 2018, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets registered nearly 300 hemp farmers with more than 2,000 acres in production. Hemp could offer Vermont farmers a new source of income by turning the durable plant into food, fiber or fuel. A law signed by Governor Scott this year will build upon this hemp program in Vermont allowing more seeds to be imported to the Green Mountain State. But we need help from Washington D.C.: Vermont is demanding that Congress remove hemp from the federal list of controlled substances. This critical change would allow Vermont farmers to focus more of their energy into farming without worrying about their crops coming up against justice department regulations.

These are just a few of the headlines from the Senate’s proposed 2018 Farm Bill. Support for nutrition programs or helping our organic farmers would also go a long way; there are many more elements that will help our economy.

We appreciate our partners and Vermont’s Congressional delegation, all of whom have helped advance the 2018 Farm Bill. We advocate for this bill to become law because it builds upon our priorities in Vermont: Making Vermont more affordable, improving our economy and protecting the state’s most vulnerable.  Washington D.C. is listening and we are confident that they stand ready to help rural America, and rural Vermont, continue to innovate and succeed.   

Anson Tebbetts is the Secretary of Agriculture, Food & Markets.  

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