Under the Golden Dome

“Under the Golden Dome”, is emailed weekly to subscribing members to keep them apprised of legislative developments at the Vermont Statehouse that affect agriculture. Legislative priorities are set annually by the organization following the elected delegate session determining policy in November.

Helpful Reports for the 2017 session are:

Vermont Subsurface Agricultural TILE DRAINAGE REPORT. Submitted by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources January 31, 2017. Prepared for the Vermont General Assembly in Accordance with 2015 Act 64, Section 5. 

CLEAN WATER REPORT REQUIRED BY ACT 64 OF 2015 Compiled by STATE OF VERMONT OFFICE OF THE STATE TREASURER January 15, 2017 

The Miner Institute 2016 Annual Report on Tile Drainage. 

Vermont’s Pollinator Protection Committee REPORT TO THE VERMONT LEGISLATURE AS REQUIRED BY ACT 83 OF 2016 SESSION 

 

September 11, 2017

Contact Jackie Folsom, Legislative Director at crkdbrks@aol.com

802-426-3579

RAP DATES

Small farms who meet the criteria of the RAPs for small farms now have to self-certify with the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, (VAAFM) between July 1, 2017 and January 31 of 2018.. At last count, we were told that approximately 100 of the 700 farms have self-certified. Please click here for more information from the VAAFM: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/water-quality/regulations/rap#dates.

Money for Water Quality Projects

The VAAFM announced additional resources from the clean water fund for farmers The VAAFM is looking for requests for proposals for a second round of funding. Ag-CWIP will fund organizations assisting farmers in planning and installation of vegetative buffers adjacent to streams, grassed waterways to prevent gully erosion in crop fields, and grazing systems to exclude livestock from surface waters.  For more information click here: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/node/1570

The Annual State Summer Board Meeting and Picnic

Despite the forecast for rain, we ended up having a wonderful sunny day for our state-wide summer picnic and board meeting. We had just over 100 attendees. As well as many Farm Bureau members, guests included Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, former Governor Jim Douglas, Secretary of Agriculture, Anson Tebbetts, former Secretary of Agriculture and current UVM director Chuck Ross, Senators MacDonald, Flory and Collamore, and Representatives Shaw, Carr, Potter, Chestnut-Tangerman, Smith, Ainsworth, Cupoli, Buckholz, Bock and Norris.
 
A special thank you goes out to David Ainsworth for arriving at 6 am to begin cooking his pig on his wood fired cooker, Terry Gulick for bringing the corn and chicken and the cooker and barbequing that, Harvey Smith for his delicious beef brisket, all of which was much appreciated, and Roy Folsom from Nationwide Insurance (Fewer Agency) for contributing funds to help with expenses, and to those who brought salads and desserts. Zippy Duvall was in great form and urged us to continue to advocate for changes to laws to make farming more economically viable. He also urged us to warmly welcome and engage with Secretary Perdue when he arrives.

County Meetings

Your county meetings are starting in earnest this month and next. We have sent the County Presidents suggestions for policy changes and resolutions. We think the priorities of the next session will be education, health care and the budget. Issues in agriculture will probably be water quality and how to fund continuing clean-up efforts. Playing a role in this debate will be pesticides and herbicides, implementation of the RAPs and tile drainage. There will be more work done on trying to identify methods of farming to ameliorate water woes.

Engagement

 Equally important, as you gather, would you please bring together a list of farmers who would be willing to testify at the Vermont State House next session in any of the following categories
 
Water quality changes you've made on your farm: needs for funding for, cover crops, no-till, soil amendments, regernative and other practices to ensure minimal nutrient loss.
Tile drainage: how it works and the cost benefit analysis of having it installed and the water quality issues and non-issues you have with it.
Bee keepers: the state of your hives, how you keep bees and what if any issues you are having.
Corn growers: how much corn you grow the types of seeds you use and fertilizers and cover crops you are utilizing to meet water quality issues.
Dairy producers: what is important to your bottom line that Vermont legislators can help you with. What do you need in the 2018 Farm Bill?
New markets: what are they and what do you need?
Agritourism: what is it and what do you need?
Maple Syrup and sugar producers: what do you need?
Foresters and forestry management, what do you need?
Anything we've left out.
Let's be seated at the table, engaged and talking with legislators, and not on the menu!
 
Remember engagement takes all forms: you can participate by phone, email, text or in person. I'm sure you can even Skype. In this time, out of session for the legislators, get them to see you on your farm at work.
 
Thank you for everything you have done for me these past two years, including the friendship offered and the guidance. It's been a privilege to work for and with you. This winter I'll be home on my farm. I hope to see you when I come up for Vermont Farm Bureau events at The State House.

 

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WEBSITE INFORMATION

How to submit written information to committees and how to around the Vermont State House:
 
Vermont State House
 
Budget Speech (audio)
 
Budget Speech Read copy:
 

Newshounds: for those of you who want a daily dose please subscribe to Morning Ag Clips: Newshounds

 Any one of many AFBF publications: AFBF

 Vermont Digger

Morning Ag Clips

VT Farm to Plate

NRCS USDA Gov


Handouts Agricultural Committee


Contacting representatives Email or In Person

At the beginning of each term we publish the member names on each committee of agriculture. The members are easy to contact. It's their first initial; last name @leg.state.vt.us with no spaces.

 Please do not use their private home phone numbers, unless you have their permission.

House Committee on Agriculture and Forest Products

 

Senate Committee on Agriculture

Sen. Robert Starr, Chair, rstarr@leg.state.vt.us

Sen. Anthony Pollina, Vice Chair, apollina@leg.state.vt.us

Sen. Brian Collamore, bcollamore@leg.state.vt.us

Sen. Carolyn Whitney Branagan, cbranagan@leg.state.vt.us

Sen. Francis K. Brooks, fbrooks@leg.state.vt.us

Contact me at (802) 345-2958 or at lyn.desmarais@gmail.com anytime.