Vermont Farm Bureau will host a press conference on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. in the Cedar Creek Room at the Vermont State House to celebrate Earth Day, which is officially April 22. Representatives from a variety of agricultural and forestry organizations have been invited to attend, as well as members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.
First promoted in 1970 by a Wisconsin legislator, Earth Day recognizes the importance of taking care of the environment and planning for a better future.
“Vermont farmers and foresters are on the front line of stewardship for the working landscape in our state,” said Joe Tisbert, president of Vermont Farm Bureau. “The technology available to our industries will continue to allow us to lead the way with science based solutions to the problems we are facing. Our members live on the land, work the land and take care of the land. We are happy to lead the way in celebrating Earth Day.”
Speakers for the event include Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Anson Tebbetts, Senator Robert “Bobby” Starr, Chair of Senate Committee on Agriculture, Representative Carolyn Partridge, Chair of House Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, Michael Snyder, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (invited) and Mr. Tisbert. Representative Harvey Smith will read a proclamation in honor of agriculture and forestry, which will also be introduced on the floor of the House later that day.
“Agricultural water quality is a program that the Agency will continue to build upon. With leadership, Vermont’s farmers, watershed groups, foresters and federal and state partners are all pulling together in the right direction,” said Secretary Tebbetts.
Governor Phil Scott and Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, as well as Speaker Mitzi Johnson, have also been invited to celebrate the positive contributions of agriculture and forestry to the environment.
Representatives from the dairy industry offering remarks include Marie Audet, Blue Spruce Farm, and Harold Howrigan, president of St. Alban’s Cooperative.
Description: A new research study at the University of Vermont seeks farmers for two opportunities to understand farmer perspectives about government regulations on their farms. The project is funded by the James M. Jeffords Center for Policy Research at the University of Vermont. The project will also interview state-level policymakers.
Online Survey: Farmers can directly and immediately participate in an online survey about government regulations on their farms by going to: https://survey.uvm.edu/index.php/627721. Survey responses are anonymous and farmers can be entered in a drawing for one of ten $50 cash compensations. Questions about the online survey can be directed to Meredith Niles, Assistant Professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at UVM, at 802-656-4337 or email@example.com.
Interviews: We also seek to interview farmers about their experience complying with government regulations on their farm, especially the Required Agricultural Practices (RAPS). Farmers are being sought to represent diverse agricultural industries, production methods, farm sizes, and generation (new farmers, multiple generation farmers). Research will involve an audio-recorded interview, which will take approximately one hour. Farmers will not be identified in the research outcomes and all information will remain anonymous. For their time, farmers will be compensated $50. To express your interest for participating in the project, and schedule a time for an interview, please contact Courtney Hammond Wagner at 802-560-5587 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Thursday, April 12, 2018, Heather Darby, Agronomy Specialist; UVM Extension presented Clean Water Initiatives to a joint hearing of the Senate Agriculture Committee and Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee. Along with Darby were Farmers from the Lake Carmi watershed who showed up in force to testify about their farming practices and how they keep the water clean.
A Senator’s proclamation that something needs done about cleaning up Lake Carmi prompted Darby to explore what more farmers can do to improve the situation. Farmers were more than willing to work with Darby who conducted soil test, walked their farms and studied their nutrient management plans.
Soil test showed the majority 85% of the fields are in the optimum and crops are removing 48% more than is applied 82% of the land does no-till, 72% uses cover crops, and 72% manure injection.
Overwhelmingly farmers are seeking a change of perspective from the public and lawmakers. Arming policy makers with the right information will redirect attention back to resolving water quality issues. Vermont Farmers will have to be patient and let new studies speak for themselves.
With water quality issues dominating state conversations as one of the top priorities, UVM Extension is working hard to support the agriculture community as they figure out how to address new regulations resulting from Act 64. Extension has always played a critical role in supporting Vermont’s farmers by turning researched best practices into applied practices and in providing direct access to education and financial resources. Click here for the full article.
On Thursday November 17, 2016 the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules, “LCAR”, met for the third time to discuss the Required Agricultural Practices Rules (“RAPs”) submitted by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. LCAR had also previously discussed and taken testimony on the proposed rules on October 20th, and November 3rd . On this final day of discussion they also agreed unanimously to send a letter with attachments to the committees of jurisdiction outlining residual concerns they have about enforcement, funding and definitions.
Vermont Farm Bureau President, Joseph Tisbert, was present at all three meetings and testified on behalf of Vermont Farm Bureau members. He testified that a state funding mechanism should be in place before the rules were finalized, because compliance may cause economic hardship for some farmers.
Members of LCAR spoke highly of Vermont farmers willingness to improve the water quality of Lake Champlain. Everyone was thanked for their hard work in getting the rules done as it has been an ongoing process over the last several years. Participants were also thanked for their testimony to ensure that the rules were fair to all and comprehensible.
After the rules being finalized, Tisbert said "It is now time for farmers to work together toward understanding the rules fully and learning how to apply them to their farming practices. Vermont Farm Bureau will work hard to ensure its members apply for and obtain funding. We intend to work with the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets, Phil Scott and the legislature, to ensure that the rules are clear, and easy to follow. Farmers should bring any implementation issues of the RAP's to the Vermont Farm Bureau Office, so our Lobbyist, Jackie Folsom, and I can bring them immediately to our legislatures attention." Final copy of the RAP's
Fill out their survey. Leadership on both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have indicated that they plan to begin working on the 2018 Farm Bill early next year. Farm Bureau members need to be ready to answer a few very basic questions if we are going to continue to try and shape farm policy to meet our risk management needs for the future. To fill out the survey at http://www.fb.org/farmbillworkinggroup/docs/
American Farm Bureau has posted an 8 minute video detailing budget issues for the upcoming Farm Bill Debate by Mary Kay Thatcher -