Blog

August 3, 2017

Grassed Buffers and Stream Fencing for Livestock Focus of New Outreach and Implementation Programs

By Ryan Patch

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) is pleased to announce a second round of Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Ag Clean Water Initiative Program (Ag-CWIP).  This grant program is made possible and supported, in part, by the Clean Water Fund – a fund created by Act 64 of 2015, Vermont’s Clean Water Act.  This second round of Ag-CWIP RFPs will fund organizations assisting farmers throughout the state to support planning and installation of vegetative buffers adjacent to streams, grassed waterways to prevent gully erosion in crop fields, and grazing systems to exclude livestock from surface waters.  Please visit: Agriculture.Vermont.gov/WQ-RFP for the complete RFP documents.

“We’re excited to offer this expansion of technical assistance resources to support our hardworking farmers in their continued effort to identify, plan and install conservation practices to improve water quality throughout the state,” said Anson Tebbetts, Secretary of Agriculture.  Tebbetts continued, “We’ve seen a real uptick in the number of farmers interested in implementing projects, but technical assistance capacity to serve them is currently under-resourced.  We are hoping to expand technical assistance for farmers with these grant opportunities.”

The first RFP is seeking a contractor for the implementation of the Pasture and Stream Fencing Program. The Program’s objective is the delivery of technical assistance that provides on-farm grazing management planning and installs fencing to exclude livestock from surface water statewide.

The second RFP is seeking a contractor for the implementation of the Grassed Waterway and Filter Strip Program.  The Program’s objective is the establishment of perennially vegetated grassed waterways and filter strips on agricultural cropland adjacent to waters of the State, including surface waters and ditches.

For each RFP, the Agency is providing up to $150,000 over two years to eligible contractors for technical assistance, design, and implementation services.  Incentive payments and implementation funds for the cost to install the conservation projects developed by the contractor will be covered separately under grants directly between the landowners and VAAFM through the Best Management Practice Program.

If a potential applicant requires clarification of any portion of the RFPs, specific questions can be submitted in writing no later than Tuesday, August 15, 2017.  Questions about the RFPs may be e-mailed to Raymond.Doherty@Vermont.gov.

At the close of the question period, a copy of all questions or comments and the Agency of Agriculture’s responses will be posted on the Agency’s web site: Agriculture.Vermont.gov/WQ-RFP.  The Agency expects to post responses to questions received by Monday, August 21, 2016.

Applications for this program are due by 4PM on Monday, August 28, 2017.

All applications must be submitted electronically to: Raymond.Doherty@Vermont.gov.

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July 21, 2017

There’s no shortage of fun to be had at Vermont’s fairs and field days. This summer, more than 700,000 visitors are expected at fairs and field days across the state. From agricultural exhibits and competitions, to rides and tractor pulls, to music and of course food, fairs have something for everyone. 

Fairs play an important role in communities by bringing neighbors together, and helping to educate the public about agriculture. According to the USDA Ag Census, less than 2% of Americans make a living in agriculture today, so fairs are an important opportunity to keep us connected to our agricultural roots.

Each year, the state invests in our fairs by providing funding for capital projects, such as bandstands, bathrooms, and pavilions. In 2017, more than $200,000 was granted to our Vermont fairs and field days to sustain infrastructure. An additional $95,000 in state stipends was provided to fairs to help fund operations.

The summer fair season kicked off last weekend in Bradford and continues through October….

July 28-30  Lamoille County Field Days:  www.lamoillefielddays.com

July 29   Pownal Valley Fair         

August 3-6  Franklin County Field Days: www.franklincountyfielddays.org

August 8-13 Addison County Fair & Field Days:   www.addisoncountyfielddays.com

August 15-19 Vermont State Fair: www.vermontstatefair.net

August 16-20  Orleans County Fair: www.orleanscountyfair.net

August 17-20 Deerfield Valley Farmer's Day Exhibitionwww.dvfair.com

August 23-27 Caledonia County Fair www.caledoniacountyfair.com

August 25-27 Bondville Fair www.bondvillefair.org

August 25 - Sept 3 Champlain Valley Fair  www.champlainvalleyfair.org

September 2-4 Guilford Fair www.guilfordfairvermont.com

September 14-17 Tunbridge World's Fair www.tunbridgeworldsfair.com

Sept 30 - Oct 1 Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival www.vtsheepandwoolfest.com

 

For more information about Vermont Fairs and Field Days, visit http://agriculture.vermont.gov/producer_partner_resources/fairsfielddays

 

July 3, 2017
The recent storms in Vermont were not kind to many of our farmers. The Agency of Agriculture is urging farmers to document any losses from the flash floods. It’s helpful to take pictures and keep detailed records.  This information could be valuable for farmers, state and federal officials as they calculate the economic impact of the wet weather this spring and summer.
 
“This has challenging start to the growing season for our farmers. The torrential rains just added another layer of difficulty for our farmers. It’s important our farmers track their losses,” said Anson Tebbetts.
 
If you have specific questions, please call the Agency of Agriculture 802-828-2430 or contact the Farm Service Agency at (802) 658-2803.
 
June 28, 2017
Vermont-made products wowed the judges this week at the 2017 Fancy Food Show in New York City. The Green Mountain Statescored eleven “sofi” medals at the world-renowned show - the largest specialty food industry trade event in North America!
 
And the delicious winners are…
 
Vermont Creamery’s Vanilla Creame Fraiche won a gold medal in the “Dessert, Sauce or Topping, Syrup” category (Websterville, VT) 
Vermont Creamery’s St. Albans Cheese won best new product in the “Cheese – Cow Milk” category (Websterville, VT)  
Vermont Creamery’s Bonne Bouche won a silver medal in the “Cheese – Non-Cow Milk, Mixed Milk” category (Websterville, VT)  
 Vermont Creamery’s Cultured Butter with Sea Salt Crystals won bronze in the Dairy/Yogurt/Dairy Alternative category (Websterville, VT) 
Big Picture Farm’s Chocolate Covered Caramels won a silver medal in the “Chocolate Candy” category (Townshend, VT)  
Champlain Chocolate’s It’s Hot, Honey Chocolate took bronze in the “Chocolate – Dark” category (Burlington, VT) 
Champlain Chocolate’s Moka Fleck Chocolate won a bronze and also best new product in the “Chocolate – Milk and White” category (Burlington, VT)  
Mt. Mansfield Maple’s Organic Pure Vermont Maple Candy won silver in the “Confection” category (Winooski, VT)  
Fat Toad Farm’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Hard Cider Goat's Milk Caramel Sauce won best new product in the “Dessert, Sauce or Topping, Syrup” category (Brookfield, VT)
Small Batch Organics’ Toasted Coconut Ginger Granola took bronze in the “Granola, Cereal” category (Manchester Center, VT) 
 
Sofis (“specialty outstanding food innovation”) are the most prestigious awards in the specialty food industry and honorexcellence across a variety of food categories. Winners are selected at the Specialty Food Association headquarters in New York City by a national panel of culinary experts. This year’s judging panel was comprised of 62 seasoned food professionals from acrossthe country, including trained chefs, culinary instructors, recipe developers, food writers and specialty food buyers who are experts in particular categories such as cheeses, oils, chocolates, etc.
 
“There’s no shortage of delicious food made right here in Vermont,” said Anson Tebbetts, Vermont’s Secretary of Agriculture.“When it comes to quality, authenticity, and flavor, Vermont rules. These companies are making outstanding products, and growing our economy. Congratulations to all of our winners!”
 
June 14, 2017

Be alert. Be patient. Be kind. 
 
That’s the message state officials are sending to Vermont drivers this season, as farmers return to the roads with tractors and heavy equipment.
 
The Agencies of Agriculture, Transportation, and Department of Public Safety have teamed up to create a new public safety message that reminds Vermonters to take extra care on the roads. They are sharing the PSA with Vermonters on social media, in an effort to build awareness for rural road safety.   
 
“Farmers are working hard to grow our economy, and keep Vermont beautiful,” according to Anson Tebbetts, Vermont’s Secretary of Agriculture. “Sometimes they need a little extra patience and care from fellow drivers – let’s give it to them.”
 
“Living in Vermont means living among our beautiful farms. Farmers are our neighbors, friends and co-workers,” added Tom Anderson, Commissioner of Public Safety. “We’re asking all motorists to put safety first. Slow down, be patient and courteous, and enjoy the scenery.”
 
Ryan Carabeau is a farmer from Richmond who worked with the state to produce the PSA. He says he understands drivers can feel frustrated and confused when they encounter tractors on the road. He hopes the PSA will serve as a reminder to Vermont motorists to be careful.
 
“I’ve had a few close calls over the years with impatient and distracted drivers,” he says. “It can be scary.”
 
“Attention, patience, and kindness are key to living and driving in rural communities,” says Tebbetts. 
 
Here are some specific actions motorists should take when they approach a tractor on the road: 
 
1) Slow down
The first thing you should do is slow down. Remember, the top speed for most tractors is 20mph. Slow down and give yourself the time and space to assess the situation.
 
2) Pay close attention
You should always give the road 100% of your attention – especially when approaching farm equipment.
 
3) Don’t get too close
Give the farmer some space. Do not tailgate – it causes stress and distraction.
 
4) Don’t pass until it is safe
Wait for a safe opportunity to pass. When it’s all clear, it’s OK to pass a tractor, as long as you do so safely!
 
5) Be alert for turns
Looks for turn indicators, like hand signals and blinkers from the drivers. Farm machinery makes wide turns. Sometimes tractors will turn directly into fields - no driveway needed. Be especially alert for left hand turns.  The left-turn collision is the most common type of farm machinery collision on public roads. It happens when the farm vehicle is about to make a left turn; meanwhile, the motorist behind the farm vehicle decides to pass.
 
 
 

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