The February 18 meeting to review the second draft of the RAP's with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture was cancelled unexpectedly. The second draft of the RAP's is now available and was released Wednesday, February 23 The The meeting to review the draft with members, and the Agency of Agriculture has been rescheduled for March 15 at 10am at the Little Red School House on the VTC Campus in Randolph. Please make sure you RSVP so we can personally contact you as this meeting was unexpectedly cancelled. If you plan on attending RSVP at 802-434-5646 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The RAPs are an updated version of the Accepted Agricultural Practices (AAPs), the laws which regulate farms in order to protect water quality, re-written to a higher level of performance. As part of Act 64—the Clean Water Act—signed into law in July 2015, the Agency of Agriculture was tasked with updating these regulations to further reduce the impact of agriculture on water quality across the state. The Agency sought public input on its first draft of the new regulations, to ensure the draft RAPs reflected the realities of farming and the legislative intent of Act 64.
Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM) has embarked on an extensive outreach effort to solicit feedback on the new draft Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs). The Agency is now in the process of consolidating this feedback and re-drafting the RAPs to reflect the community’s input. The second draft of the RAPs, the responsiveness summary, and the public comments was projected to be available to the public on the Agency’s website in early February. For more information about the RAPs, and the Agency’s efforts to implement Act 64, visit http://agriculture.vermont.gov/waterquality/regulations/rap Questions and comment about the RAPs can be directed to AGR.RAP@Vermont.gov
The USDA, through its Farm Service Agency (FSA), offers Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage for most fruit & vegetable crops, and pays benefits on qualifying crop losses due to eligible weather events. Basic NAP coverage is available at NO COST for new producers (defined as being in farming for less than 10 years), Socially Disadvantaged Individuals (all women and most ethnic groups) and Limited Resource Producers (those meeting income limits; less than $176,800.00 in annual sales, and an adjusted gross annual income of around $28,000.00) Those producers not qualifying for free coverage can purchase coverage for a nominal fee. For more information, please contact your local FSA office at the following numbers:
Addison County: 1-888-408-3783 or 802-388-6748
Caledonia/Essex County: 1-800-862-1121 or 802-748-2641
Chittenden/Washington County: 1-800-910-2035 or 802-288-8155
Franklin/Grand Isle County: 1-800-717-8637 or 802-527-1296
Lamoille County: 1-802-888-4935
Orleans County: 1-866-241-2190 or 802-334-6090
Rutland/Bennington County: 1-800-300-6927 or 802-775-8034
Windham County: 1-802-254-9766
Windsor/Orange County: 1-800-789-6713 or 802-295-7942
Save $5,000 A Year On Your Taxes!
AgriPlanNOWis a tax-advantaged benefit program that saves farmers an average of more than $5,000 a year. We are offering this program through a partnership with TASC (Total Administrative Services Corporation), a national third-party benefits administrator.
•Here are the highlights of AgriPlanNOW:
•You are able to deduct 100% of federal, state, and FICA taxes for family health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket medical, dental, and vision expenses.
•All expenses are deducted through the use of an IRS Section 105 Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA). The key benefit is that you can declare family medical costs as business expenses, rather than personal deductions.
•On average, clients save more than $5,000 a year.
•AgriPlanNOW comes with both a deduction and full audit guarantee.
Counties are hosting opportunities for members to dine and meet with Legislators to discuss issues that affect them. Addison, Orange and Orleans have set dates. Addison County Farm Bureau in conjunction with the Bridport Grange has a series of Legislative Breakfasts scheduled throughout the session. The Addison County Chamber of Commerce and Addison County Regional Planning support the series that runs through June 6, 2016.
The full schedule is posted on our calendar.