Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets Governor Phil Scott proposed groundbreaking investments in food and agriculture in his budget speech on Friday, January 20. The Governor’s budget encourages innovative investments and programs to grow Vermont’s food production, farms and forests.
“This budget is thoughtful, deliberate, disciplined and carefully crafted to make the most of the historic resources available to us. It’s focused on investing, not just spending, to get the best results and increase revenue so we can move families and communities forward. It prioritizes the regions and people who need our help the most, to ensure an increasingly healthy and vibrant economy in each of your communities,” said Governor Phil Scott.
One of the recommendations is based on a recently released report by the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Agriculture. Among the plan’s conclusions are: “All Vermonters benefit from healthy, nutritious food and a strong local food system.”
To help address this finding, the governor proposed investing $10 million in “grant funding for small and medium value-added agricultural producers and processors in the meat, vegetable and maple sectors.” These areas of our food system were under-resourced or ineligible for available funding. This grant will help them grow and become more efficient while producing more food for Vermont and the region.
The governor also suggests investing in the work of people who live off the land. Under the governor’s proposed budget, $4 million would go to the Working Lands Enterprise Fund. This proven program enables the expansion of food and forestry business. This investment was also recommended by the Governor’s Commission for Agriculture. You can read their full report.
These proposed investments will now be presented to the legislature. The Agency for Agriculture advocates these investments because they support our farmers and producers who feed us and cultivate the land.
The governor’s proposal comes at a time when the region is making critical investments in dairy farming. Those in the dairy industry have recognized local processing as a strategy to help businesses prosper. The Agency’s Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center is preparing to launch a $13 million program to help dairy processors expand and process their own Vermont milk. This could mean more local milk, cheese, butter, yogurt and ice cream. Click to learn more about the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center
This is a vulnerable but exciting time for agriculture. The governor proposed long-term and short-term investments to support our farmers, producers and those who feed us. Agriculture in the Green Mountain State is transforming and becoming a cornerstone of Vermont’s future. Join us and invest in Vermont.