Over three years, the Payment for Eco-System Services Working Group developed a vision for a payment program which will increase carbon storage, nutrient, soil, and storm water retention, water quality outcomes, and the ability to support biodiversity, thus improving the health of the broader ecosystem for all Vermonters while also supporting the economic health of Vermonters engaged in agriculture. The Working Group recognizes that Vermont farmers can make (and are already making) substantial contributions to water quality through adopting agricultural conservation practices across their farm. Many of these water quality conservation practices also provide a co-benefit of improving soil health metrics.
The Governor’s Commission on the Future of Vermont Agriculture was convened on April 1, 2021 and submitted an initial Action Plan to the Governor on November 15, 2021.1 The Executive Order further required the Commission to measure and evaluate progress and submit a supplemental report to the Governor assessing the impact of its work and implemented strategies on or before November 15, 2022.2 This report constitutes the Commission’s fulfillment of its obligation under the Executive Order.
As part of Act 182 enacted in 2022, the Legislature directed the Natural Resources Board to issue a report with recommendations on how Act 250 jurisdiction should apply to agricultural businesses, including those located on properties already operating as farms:
“The Board shall consult with the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, the Vermont Planners Association, the regional planning commissions, and other interested stakeholders. The report shall include recommendations as to how to clarify what is and what is not an accessory on-farm business. The report shall address the current land use planning requirements for farms and farms with accessory on-farm businesses and whether different types of businesses associated with farms and farming require different levels of review. The report may consider whether or not the location of such businesses is relevant and may consider the designation or adoption of agricultural business innovation zones with different levels of review.”
As part of Act 185 enacted in 2022, the Legislature directed the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets to issue a report with recommendations on programs and services for new farmers:
“The Secretary of Agriculture shall, in consultation with the Vermont Housing Conservation Board, inventory the programs available to assist new farmers beginning operations in the State. On or before January 15, 2023, the Secretary shall provide a report to the House and Senate Committees on Agriculture on the degree of coordination across these programs. This shall include recommendations for improvement or change in operations and coordination that would benefit new farmers experience in seeking assistance.”
This report is prepared with the intention to understand how Vermont can convene its resources to better serve aspiring and new farmers. The report focuses on the existing programs available to new farmers and the degree of coordination across these programs. The report presents recommendations to enhance the network of support for new farmers to get started in Vermont.
The Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets Water Quality Division has submitted this report today to the General Assembly as required in 6 V.S.A. Ch 215 § 4825. This report outlines the Financial and Technical Assistance efforts performed by the Water Quality Division.
Performance Measures for the Memorandum of Understanding Between the Agency of Natural Resources and Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (PDF)
This report is submitted to the Vermont Legislature to highlight measures of success in the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) and the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (AAFM). The Secretaries of ANR and AAFM are required to adopt the MOU for the non-point program describing program administration, grant negotiation, grant sharing, and coordination on watershed planning activities. This MOU, attached, was revised March 17, 2017. The two agencies have chosen several measures to indicate various aspects of our coordination. In this document, AAFM identifies which agency addresses which type of water quality violations, introduces the performance measures chosen, discusses the limitations of these measures, and presents the performance measures.
The Agricultural Innovation Board must issue a report annually to the General Assembly on or before January 15 that recommends policy solutions to assist farmers in; reducing the use of and exposure to pesticides; and the use of innovative or alternative practices; and propose an annual budget report that provides ideas for funding sources for any new programs recommended in the annual report.
As part of Act 41 enacted, the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets must on or before January 15, [annually], submit to the Senate Committees on Agriculture and on Natural Resources and Energy and the House Committees on Agriculture, Food Resiliency, and Forestry and on Environment & Energy a report regarding importation of food residuals for composting under 10 V.S.A. § 6001(22)(H).