COVID-19 April Update: Vermont Calls on USDA to Take Emergency Measure
That’s the still the message.
You are doing a great job. But we still need to hunker down as we work through this pandemic.
The economic climate for farmers, producers and those getting food on the table remains rugged. We are grateful to all those from the farm to the fork who are working in harm’s way to feed Vermont and the world.
The Agency is working on a series of initiatives to get Agriculture through this. Let’s talk dairy.
You will see stories of farmers having to dispose of milk and cheese. This is happening across the country and some states are having to throw out produce. With the United States for the most part shutdown including key markets that deliver to food service, institutions, colleges and schools-there is too much raw product and it can’t get to the table.
The Agency is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take emergency measures. Here are few suggestions.
- USDA should buy dairy products and distribute to food banks and food shelves.
- Make Direct payments to dairy farmers
- Consider setting federal dairy prices for farmers in April, May, June and July. Dairy attrition could be enormous unless a cost of production price is set by USDA.
Farmers and those who make dairy products are still working but their costs of have increased as they keep their workers safe during this pandemic. They should be compensated for this leadership.
The Agency is also working with the region’s retailers to get more local produce, dairy and specialty foods in their stores. We have set up a process where Vermont’s farmers and producers can engage with supermarkets on getting more local food to Vermonters and beyond.
We also promoting more online sales, curb side delivers, CSA’s and avenues where consumers can have as little personal contact with farmers but they still can get food. Many are getting creative. Thank-you.
And we are grateful to all those who are in harm’s way---thanks to our health care workers, our truck drivers, grocery clerks and those who are doing the best they can under extreme circumstances.
Thanks to all -or their calm and compassionate leadership. We are grateful.
Stay home. Stay healthy
We will get through this and we will get through this together.
If you have a question or comment email AGR.email@example.com or visit agriculture.vermont.gov/covid-19-information.
- Secretary Anson Tebbetts, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets