USDA to Reopen FSA Offices for Limited Services During Government Shutdown

(Washington, D.C., January 16, 2019) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen temporarily in the coming days to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices on Thursday, January 17 and Friday, January 18, in addition to Tuesday, January 22, during normal business hours. The offices will be closed for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 21.  

In almost half of FSA locations, FSA staff will be available to assist agricultural producers with existing farm loans and to ensure the agency provides 1099 tax documents to borrowers by the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline.“Until Congress sends President Trump an appropriations bill in the form that he will sign, we are doing our best to minimize the impact of the partial federal funding lapse on America’s agricultural producers,” Perdue said.  “We are bringing back part of our FSA team to help producers with existing farm loans.  

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Annual Winter Manure Spreading Ban Now in PlaceBan Is Effective from December 15 thru April 1

 Montpelier, VT / December 15, 2018 - The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets would like to remind all state farm operations that the 24th annual winter manure spreading ban is underway.   As required by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets’ (VAAFM) Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs), between December 15 and April 1, no manure or other agricultural wastes (including: compost and spoiled feed) may be spread on agricultural fields throughout Vermont. This annual ban is required by the RAPs, which is a part of VAAFM’s overall strategy to protect water quality, the working landscape, and natural resources. The ban is a regulation that has been in place since 1995.  A revision to the RAPs – newly effective in 2016 – continues the winter manure spreading ban while expanding the types of farm generated wastes which are prohibited from application in winter. The RAPs also prohibit the application of manure or agricultural wastes on frozen or snow-covered fields.  VAAFM works closely with farmers across the state to ensure the RAPs are understood and complied with. 
To read more about it: sites/ag/files/RAPsummaryPDF.pdf

Joint Committee Hearing on Agriculture Environmental StewardshipLegislators to Hear of Benefits to Vermont Beyond Food

  January 17, 2019 / Montpelier, VT – On Friday, January 25th, an important joint hearing will be conducted in Room 11 at the Vermont State House with the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee, the Senate Agriculture Committee, and House and Senate Natural Resources Committees.  The purpose of this hearing will be to highlight the important environmental protection work that Vermont farmers are engaged in with the assistance of state government agencies and their partners, and how that work translates to environmental benefits for the state of Vermont and its citizens.
Vermont’s farmers are a critical component of our rural economy, our natural ecosystem, and the state’s environmental stewardship efforts.   Over the last decade, a substantial amount of emphasis and effort has been directed towards adoption of practices and systems that minimize the impact of agriculture on Vermont’s waters and air. “Whenever we purchase food at our local grocery, we should thank our farmers.  But agriculture’s benefits reach beyond the grocery store. Environmental stewardship has always been the backbone of Vermont’s hard working farmers, but today they are making a real, positive difference in the quality of our environment,” said VAAFM Secretary Anson Tebbetts.  “We want to highlight for our legislature the amount of work farmers are undertaking to do even more now for our shared environment.” Partnerships, collaborations, incentives, and initiative have all helped
been, the progress we have made, and where our future efforts lie on our quest to improve the environment and the viability of agriculture for the state of Vermont. Please join us for this important discussion.  If you cannot attend, please tune into the VAAFM Facebook page to watch live. 

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