August 11, 2022
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Tebbetts: New farm and food legislation advances Vermont agriculture – Vermont Biz



Doc investments in our rural communities, agriculture, and the environment

by Anson Tebbetts This yr Vermont legislators made record investments in our rural communities, agriculture, and the environment. Based mostly upon Governor Phil Scott’s proposals, legislators allotted greenbacks to farmers, producers And completely different people making their dwelling off the land.

The Governor’s Method forward for Agriculture Fee supplyed new covperiodge and program ideas, and legislators listened. This winter the Fee proposed investing in meals associated companies So as that they might develop and feed people in Vermont and past. A $40 million greenback Group Recowly and Revitalization program led by the Agency of Commerce and Group Enchancment will problem grants to companies to Pay money for new infrastructure, Similar to storage, distrihoweverion, waste administration and meat course ofing for Vermont corporations.

Farming and assist for agriculture was properly represented beneath the Golden Dome this yr. People who develop Vegatables and fruits will get assist; $100,000 Is Devoted to persevering with Produce Safety Enchancment grants for the enterprise. Grants will assist finance gear and infrastructure needed To securely produce and course of extra native meals.

The Working Lands Program additionally will assist farmers, producers And Individuals who work Inside the forest. Greater than $3 million greenbacks Shall be invested On this program over this subsequent yr, making it extra pretty priced and viable to farm or produce meals in Vermont. It’s a confirmed program that develops Vermont’s rural financial system whereas producing extreme-extreme quality meals and forest merchandise.

The Fee additionally proposed to Pay money for know-how To assist dairy farmers handle their complicated and evolving companies. This might imply upgrades To assist with manure administration, milking gear or infrastructure. The Northeast Dairy Industry Innovation Center is dedicated to this precedence And might dedicate greenbacks to this suggestion Inside The approaching months. With An reliable labor market, this initiative might make it extra pretty priced for the area’s dairy farmers.

This yr’s state price range additionally consists of assist for pure dairy farmers who have been confronted with dropping their Vermont markets. The $200,000 appropriation will assist farmers discover and work with new consumers For his or her milk.

The revenueable session additionally focused on attracting and assisting The subsequent period of farmers. The Agency of Commerce and Group Enchancment will collaborate with the Vermont Financial Enchancment Authority (VEDA) to handle a $19 million greenback enterprise assist program. This forgivable mortgage program is Aimed in the direction of serving to these companies That are nonethemuch less recowling from the pandemic. The Northeast Dairy Industry Innovation Center Can additionally supply a mentorship program for dairy farmers. There’s super power And want For mannequin spanking new and starting farmers.  

While navigating the pandemic, farmers are additionally Dealing with local climate change. Vermont farmers are stewards of the land. They stand In a place to assist enhance the environment by implementing Climate Smart Farming, collectively with agronomic practices that mitigate local climate change. The Agency’s price range consists of spending almost $5 million greenbacks to plant extra cowl crops and enhance soil well being. The state’s price range additionally consists of greenbacks for the Cost for Ecosystem Providers Working Group and Program. This $1 million greenback program, now a pilot, might reward farmers for biggest practices that enhance the environment and the local climate.

Feeding Vermont and the area May even be a precedence for the Agency of Agriculture and its companions. Vermonters Feeding Vermonters, a program of the Vermont Foodbank, will acquire $2 million greenbacks To assist feed these much less fortunate whereas buying for native meals from Vermont Farmers.

This legislative session additionally resulted in vital investments in meals security packages, farm-to-school and early educator grants, and baby vitamin investments in our schools. These investments imply all Vermonters – collectively with our most weak – can revenue from healthful, nutritious meals and A strong native meals system.

These vital monetary commitments to Vermont agriculture beneathscore its significance in our communities and our on A daily basis lives. We’re grateful for the assist of Vermonters and covperiodge makers in Montpelier and Washington.  There’s a lot work to do however brief- and prolonged-time period approaches create alternatives for farmers and producers whereas Making sure We will feed the area and On The identical time maintain our useful agricultural land in manufacturing.

June 7, 2022 | Montpelier, VT – Anson B. Tebbetts is the Secretary, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets