VAAFM: Governor Scott proposes major investment in agriculture

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.

Anson Tebbetts

Farm Surface Water Withdrawal Reporting Program
Withdrawal of surface water
Reporting program

A reminder that starting January 15th, Act 135 states that any Vermont farm that withdraws 10,000 gallons or more of surface water within a 24-hour period, or 150,000 gallons during any 30-day period in 2022, must submit a report to VAAFM until January 31.

The goal of Act 135 is to better understand the current demand for surface water in Vermont and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure the resiliency and future availability of surface water in the face of climate change.

VAAFM has prepared forms for surface water users on farms to report withdrawals from July 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022. Reporting forms are available online and can be sent to [email protected].

Application deadline: January 31

Cities Application Bootcamp

To help underserved local governments with populations of 150,000 or less, the National League of Cities and the Center for Local Infrastructure offer a number of boot camps.

The bootcamps are designed to help local governments take advantage of more than $9.5 billion in grant opportunities available through the bipartisan Infrastructure Act.

Over the next two years, 30 camps will be held, targeting grants available for energy efficiency and conservation, charging and fueling infrastructure, safe streets and roads, and Brownfields.

Applications for spring bootcamps will open soon; bookmark the website and be on the lookout.

Explore multiple sources

Vermont Farm Bureau YF&R Winter Workshop Series

Join the Vermont Farm Bureau for a session on grant writing and accessibility for Vermont farmers with presentations by Maria Noth of the Vermont Board of Housing and Conservation and the Working Lands Entrepreneurship Initiative.

Join this free workshop at the UVM Extension Building in Berlin from 1 to 3 p.m. Pre-registration is recommended, you do not have to be a Farm Bureau member to attend.

Workshop: February 2

Take a look at digital marketing

Today, there are more ways than ever to connect with consumers; but it’s also harder than ever to stand out and get their attention.

An effective digital marketing strategy is multifaceted and automated so you can do more and reach more potential customers in less time. This week on the blog, we’re sharing some best practices to get you started on your digital marketing strategy.

Read the whole blog!

Grants to help fairs

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