Under the Golden Dome

“Under the Golden Dome”, is emailed weekly to subscribing members to keep them apprised of legislative developments at the Vermont Statehouse that affect agriculture. Legislative priorities are set annually by the organization following the elected delegate session determining policy in November.



July 13, 2018 

Invitation to a Party in Whitingham, VT - July 21, 2018

The Corse Family is celebrating their 150th year of farming in the very bottom of the state, and they are inviting everyone to attend.  Ice cream and pizza will be served, and you can enjoy a hayride around the farm (weather permitting!).  Please help wish the farm a happy birthday!  For more information, call Leon at 802-368-7192, or make the trip to 1085 Corse Road in Whitingham from 11-4 on Saturday, July 21st!

Thanks to Stephanie Smith at the Agency of Agriculture for clarification on current use paperwork:
"By November 1, 2018, a landowner must annually complete Form CU-313 if they have land enrolled in the active agricultural category or farm buildings enrolled.  This certification is NOT required for parcels that have only forestland or for new enrollments that submit an application by September 1st.  The Department of Taxes mails out the CU-313 for each parcel to the landowner in September.  They must be returned by November 1st in order for your agricultural land and buildings to be eligible for enrollment for 2019 tax year.  There is no generic form, so it is important to look for mail from the Vermont Department of Taxes.  A listing of parcels that are required to submit the form will be posted on the Tax Department website by September 30th.
September 1, 2018 is the deadline for a submission of a complete application for enrolling a NEW parcel or to ADD to your existing land and building enrollment for the 2019 tax year.  Review the application instructions for additional materials that must be submitted with the application, such as leases, maps, income tax returns.
October 1, 2018 is the deadline for submission of forest management plan and maps when enrolled parcels contained managed forestland or conservation lands."
More information on annual certification can be found at

The Clean Water Board is requesting public input on the state's fiscal year 2020 Clean Water Funding priorities.  Weigh in by completing an online questionnaire (see link below), open from July 2nd to July 31st.
The Clean Water Fund supports municipalities, farmers and others implementing priority projects to improve water quality in Vermont's lakes, rivers and wetlands.  See www.dec.vermont.gov/watershed/cwi/cwf and follow the links for the fact sheet and to participate in the online survey. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CWFSFY20
To request a hard copy of the questionnaire, please contact Bethany Sargent at 802-490-6131; these must be postmarked by July 31st and mailed to:
            Attention:  Vermont Clean Water Initiative
            Department of Environmental Conservation
            1 National Life Drive, Main 2
            Montpelier VT  05620-3522

Completing the questionnaire is one of the many opportunities to participate in the Clean Water Fund budget process. For more information on this, please access the website above and scroll through to the budget process link.
Water quality plans and how to fund them will certainly be a continuing topic of discussion when the Legislature begins in January, and with at least four new members in the Senate (due to retirements) and a significant number retiring in the House, we need to add our voices to find a solution that works for everyone.


Congress is returning this week from their July 4th recess and both the House and Senate will be naming their conferees for the Committee of Conference on the Farm Bill soon.  The Senate version in particular has significant improvements to agricultural issues pertinent to Vermont.  We'll keep you posted as to the appointments and the progress.


Please congratulate Amanda Voyer on being chosen as the Executive Director of the Vermont Sugarmakers Association.  She follows Matt Gordon, who served for five years at the helm.
Congratulations to Louise Calderwood, who is the new Director of Regulatory Affairs for the American Feed Industry Association.


    Vermont Farm Bureau has had a seat on the board of directors for the Vermont Beef Industry Council since the Council's inception, and Chip Morgan of Bridport has recently taken over as Executive Director from Dan Connor.  At our recent summer meeting, board members were asked to remind farmers of the following information:

BY LAW, all producers selling cattle or calves, for any reason and regardless of age or sex, must pay $1-per-head to support beef/veal promotion, research and information through the Beef Promotion and Research Act.  Here are some specifics:

    *    Whoever makes payment to the seller is considered a "Collection Point or Person" and must withhold $1-per-head, remitting those funds to the Qualified State Beef Council (QSBC) where they live.(For Vermont, it is the VTBIC).  Collection points could include auction markets, feed yards, dealers/order buyers, other producers, auctioneers, clerking services, banks, packers and other entities.
    *    The buyer is generally responsible for collecting $1-per-head from the seller.  By law, both buyer and seller are equally liable to see that $1-per-head has been collected and paid.
    *    Also under the Act and the Order, the State Beef Council is legally responsible for collecting monthly assessments as well as a two percent late charge on checkoff remittances if they are not received in our office postmarked by the 15th of the month following the month of sale.
    *    No producer is exempt from the checkoff.  Buyers who resell cattle no more than 10 days from the date of purchase may file a non-producer status form and avoid paying an additional dollar.  They are, however, responsible for remitting collected funds and reporting any transaction to QSBC.
    *    Remember:  A dollar or a document!  All selling/purchase transactions must be reported.  In each case, either $1-per-head or non-producer status form documents must be collected by the buyer from the seller to show the dollar has been collected and paid within the past 10 days.
    *    If it's more convenient, the seller of cattle may collect and remit funds collected.  For instance, purebred breeders selling to may different buyers may wish to remit the checkoff themselves; persons exporting cattle should also pay when the cattle change hands.  Buyers should keep receipts showing the checkoff has been paid.
    *    Persons in non-compliance with the Act and Order are subject to a civil penalty of up to $7500 per transaction, plus unremitted checkoff dollars and interest.
    *    Research shows the checkoff returns more than $11 to the industry for every dollar invested.
To pay your checkoff, simply go to www.vtbic.org and click on the checkoff tab.  If you have regular transactions each month, you are considered a monthly remitter and should use that form.  If you only have a few transactions a year, use the private treaty form.
Fill out the form online and mail your check to VBIC, PO Box 151, Middlebury VT  05753.  Questions can be answered at 833-488-2333.  Thanks!


    It's time for nominations from counties for all the awards presented during our Annual Meeting in November!  Packets were mailed out earlier this summer to county secretaries, but this is a NUDGE to remind counties to go through their membership lists and determine who may be "above the bar" of all the wonderful folks we have in Farm Bureau.  Categories include Farm Family, Farm Woman, Young Farmer and Wallace Awards and forms and criteria for each category can be found on our website at www.vtfb.org.  
    Nominations need to be into the office in Richmond by October 1, 2018, and we'd really like to have multiple suggestions for each category.  Help us out!  Check out the nominating forms and ask your county to highlight a couple of your outstanding members today!


Any county that has their Meet the Candidate Event scheduled should contact the office (and me!) so that it's on the calendar and we can assist with anything you need.  I've been preparing XL spreadsheets for every county with information on your candidates which will include mailing addresses for postcards.  I'm also working on a list of questions to use as a base, so that we can get specific responses to policy issues.  These will also assist us in developing policy in November.  I'll include those questions in the next UTGD, so that you can also attend other candidate events not hosted by Farm Bureau and get some answers!


    Breakfast on the Farm, July 28, 2018 at the Kayharts Farm
    Open Farm Week, August 13-19, 2018 - see www.DiginVt.com
    Vermont Farm Bureau Summer Picnic, August 15 - Ainsworth Farm
    Connecticut Valley Fair/Bradford Fair, July 12-15 - Bradford
    Lamoille County Field Days, July 27-29 - Johnson
    Franklin County Field Days, August 2-5 - Highgate
    Addison County Fair and Field Days, August 7-11 - Middlebury
    Vermont State Fair, August 14-18 - Rutland
    Orleans County Fair, August 13-19 - Barton
    Deerfield Valley Farmers Day Exhibition, August 9-12 - Wilmington
    Caledonia County Fair, August 22-26 - Lyndonville
    Bondville Fair, August 24-26 - Bondville
    Champlain Valley Exposition, August 24 - Sept 2 - Essex Junction
    Guilford Fair, September 2-3 - Guilford
    Tunbridge World's Fair, September 13-16 - Tunbridge

Thanks to members who took the time to call in last week with comments about the Current Use issue and other things - great to hear from you!  

From the team,  
Joe and Jackie

 Jackie Folsom, Legislative Director

Facebook:  Look for articles relevant to agriculture at least five days a week on Facebook. Please join Facebook, like us and join in on the conversations.


How to submit written information to committees and how to get around the Vermont State House:

Vermont State House
Budget Speech (audio)
Budget Speech Read copy:

Newshounds: for those of you who want a daily dose please subscribe to Morning Ag Clips: Newshounds

 Any one of many AFBF publications: AFBF,  Vermont Digger, Morning Ag Clips, VT Farm to Plate, NRCS USDA Gov

Handouts Agricultural Committee




Contacting representatives Email or In Person

At the beginning of each term we publish the member names on each committee of agriculture. The members are easy to contact. It's their first initial; last name @leg.state.vt.us with no spaces.

 Please do not use their private home phone numbers, unless you have their permission.

House Committee on Agriculture and Forest Products

Senate Committee on Agriculture

Sen. Robert Starr, Chair, rstarr@leg.state.vt.us

Sen. Anthony Pollina, Vice Chair, apollina@leg.state.vt.us

Sen. Brian Collamore, bcollamore@leg.state.vt.us

Sen. Carolyn Whitney Branagan, cbranagan@leg.state.vt.us

Sen. Francis K. Brooks, fbrooks@leg.state.vt.us

Contact me at 802-426-3579 or crkdbrks@aol.com.

Helpful Reports for the 2017 session are:

Vermont Subsurface Agricultural TILE DRAINAGE REPORT. Submitted by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources January 31, 2017. Prepared for the Vermont General Assembly in Accordance with 2015 Act 64, Section 5. 


The Miner Institute 2016 Annual Report on Tile Drainage.