Policy & Legislative Priorities

Policy

2016 Legislative Priorities

Current Use

Vermont Farm Bureau will strive to remediate any unintended consequences to recent changes to Current Use Value Appraisal Program.We will seek to uncouple any new or proposed regulatory penalties that treat the Current UseValue Appraisal Program as a subsidy rather than tax equity program.We seek equal treatment for eligible equine farm businesses.

Water Quality

Vermont Farm Bureau supports Act 64, the new Water Quality bill to improve Vermont’s state waters, especially Lake Champlain and the Connecticut River. We are committed to having an active role in the final draft of the RAP’s which will be complete by July 2016. A priority will be to identify to the Secretary of Agriculture unintended harmful consequences, help our farmers to understand and put into place the required agricultural practices, and give them information that will allow them to access all available funds for doing so.

Education

We urge the Legislature to reverse recent cuts of faculty and programs at UVM in dairy, equine and horticulture, and to restore and add educational programs to provide for our agricultural and forest land based economy. Vermont Farm Bureau also supports increased funding for agricultural programs at VTC and at every college and university in Vermont that promotes agriculture, local food production, and Vermont's brand of excellence across the food and forest sectors.

Equine Equity

Vermont Farm Bureau supports the inclusion of Equine facilities in all definitions of Agriculture as and when defined by the Legislature in Vermont.

Food Safety and Modernization Act

Vermont Farm Bureau will seek to join a task force looking at federal regulations as they are proposed and the impact of these regulations on our members.

Pollinators

Vermont farm bureau supports all efforts to protect pollinators in the state. We will seek to join a task force looking into pollinator health.

Siting of Commercial Wind and Solar Power

Vermont Farm Bureau supports early, increased and localized review of placement of these facilities.

Vermont Sales and Use Tax - Agricultural Equipment 

Vermont Farm Bureau supports continuation of the retail sales tax exemption for agricultural items and maintaining sales tax exemptions for farm machinery. We strongly urge legislation reducing the sales and use tax exemption requirement of agricultural machinery and equipment to 51% agricultural use to conform with other applicable state laws. Vermont Farm Bureau requests the Legislature clarify exempt purchases for agricultural uses and that any past eligible purchases be "grandfathered" in.