Vermont Farm Bureau President Joe Tisbert Honored with the John C. Finley Award by the Vermont Dairy Industry Association

Joe Tisbert, President of Vermont Farm Bureau receives the John C. Finley Award from Kate Finley Woodruff at the Vermont Dairy Industry Association’s Annual Dairy Banquet at the Vermont Farm show on February 1, 2018.

The Vermont Dairy Industry Association awarded its prestigious John C. Finley Memorial Award to Joe Tisbert, President of Vermont Farm Bureau at their annual dairy banquet at the Vermont Farm Show on February 1, 2018. The John C. Finley award is bestowed annually to that person whose character, dedication to Vermont agriculture and education, and accomplishments most closely resemble those goals, ideals, and achievements that were so important to John Finley, former Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture.

 Finley’s daughter, Kate Finley Woodruff, presented the award to a very stunned Tisbert prefacing it with quotes from the popular American radio broadcaster Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer.” The well known speech was first recorded in 1978 and aired as A Super Bowl advertisement for Ram Trucks five years ago.

 Finley said, “This farmer is bigger than his acres at Valley Dream Farm. He represents and has the respect of a larger community of agricultural stewards, some organic, some conventional, some producing milk or maple, beef or berries, apples or alpacas. He represents them all. He is a caretaker of VT agriculture, supporting our current farmers and protecting our future ones.”

 Tisbert is just beginning his third year as President of Vermont Farm Bureau, a role he has embraced with enthusiasm and continues to make great strides in. He is a regular presence at the Vermont State House and makes frequent trips to American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington D.C. On Wednesday, January 31, 2018, he held a Unity Meeting at the Vermont Farm Show. Agricultural leaders, agri-business representatives, Representative of Vermont’s Congressional Delegation, and Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, Anson Tebbetts attended and discussed challenges and common issues. A network of communication was formed to work together to strengthen Vermont agriculture.


Enrolled in Current Use?  

Your Required Annual Agricultural Certification is due prior to March 1, 2018 or you will be Removed from the Program!    

The Department of Taxes has identified over 1,000 parcels that have not submitted their required annual agricultural certification as required in statute (32 VSA §3755(f)).  This certification form is required if you have agricultural land or buildings enrolled in the Current Use Program, also known as the Use Value Appraisal Program.  The original forms with parcel-specific information were mailed in September 2017.  A follow up mailing will be done in late February to those landowners who have still not submitted the form.

To see if your parcel needs certification visit:  http://tax.vermont.gov/property-owners/current-use.

If your parcel is listed and you've not received a form: Please contact the Department
(802) 828-6680 to confirm your mailing address and get a new copy for your specific parcel.
If you have the form and haven't sent it in:  It needs to be completed and sent prior to March 1, 2018.  

If these forms are not provided to the Current Use Program by March 1, 2018, the agricultural land and buildings will be removed from the Current Use Program.
You will pay full property taxes on the land and buildings that are removed from the program.


Join us Thursday, March 15  for Farm Bureau Day at the State House

On January 23 Vermont Farm Bureau members introduced themselves to members of the Senate Agricultural Committee and the House Committee of Agriculture and Forestry for Farm Bureau Day at the State House. Both committees were very receptive and listened attentively as farmers presented their issues. Save the date for March 15, 2018.
8:00 -10:00 a.m -  Coffee Talk with Legislators, members and Ag Leaders. Complimentary coffee and muffins will be provided.
10:00 - noon  Meet with members of the House Committee of Agriculture and Forestry and members of the Senate Agricultural Committee. This is a great opportunity to introduce your farming practices and voice your issues.   
1:00 p.m. Vermont Farm Bureau Board Meeting

PARKING is FREE at the Department of Labor on Memorial Drive, with a free shuttle running every 20 minutes from there to the Statehouse. The shuttle begins at 7:00 a.m. and ends at 5:15 p.m.  
Your voice matters! Please come: talk about your farm, why you farm and perhaps a challenge that you face or an idea for rural development or a business that you have. We urge you to participate. By working together we can have a stronger more effective voice.
RSVP to Legislative Director Jackie Folsom email crkdbrks@aol.com or call 802 -777-3857 or 802-426-3579. Contact her with any questions or concerns. Her Legislative report is posted weekly at http://vtfb.org/under-the-golden-dome.php 


Vermont’s Winter Manure Spreading Runs  December 15 - April 1

The Agency of Ag Reminds Farmers of New Manure Stacking Requirements

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets’ (VAAFM) newly effective Required Agricultural Practices Rule will continue a 20-year winter management requirement for all farms: between December 15 and April 1, no manure or other agricultural wastes (compost, spoiled feed, other wastes) may be spread on fields throughout Vermont.

For additional information regarding the newly effective RAPs, please visit the Agency’s website: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/water-quality/regulations/rap


Do I have to Certify My Small Farm? Starting July 1, 2017 Annual Self-Certification Required

Farming operations that meet the threshold of a Certified Small Farm will be required to self-certify their operation with the Agency of Agriculture annually. The first certification form is due between July 1, 2017 and January 31, 2018. Small farms that meet the criteria to be considered a Certified Small Farm Operation (CSFO) will need to annually certify compliance with the RAPs as well as develop and implement nutrient management plans. Visit http://agriculture.vermont.gov/sfo  and click on the green button that says, "Do I have to Certify?" for a detailed diagram to help determine your farm classification size.


Required Agricultural Practices pass in Montpelier

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, Lyn Desmarais, and I can bring them immediately to our legislatures attention." Final copy of the RAP's 


Help American Farm Bureau Shape the 2018 Farm Bill 

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 -