Vermont Open Farm Week returns Aug. 13-19

The fourth annual Open Farm Week will return the week of Monday, August 13th through Sunday, August 19th, 2018, and will feature a diverse schedule of rooted in Vermont on-farm activities for the whole family.

Open Farm Week is a celebration of Vermont farms offering visitors a backstage pass to learn more about local food origins, authentic agritourism experiences, and the chance to build relationships with farmers. This year visitors can explore regional trails, featuring multiple farms and activities, to take a deeper dive into the unique rural character of each corner of Vermont. Events vary from farm to farm, including activities like milking cows or goats, learning to make pickles, working with fiber, crop-mobs, on-farm dinners, or scavenger hunts.

Janet Steward of Greenfield Highland Cattle reflected on her Open Farm Week experience introducing the public to her majestic highland herd, “Everyone was so appreciative of the beauty of the animals and landscape, and what we do. We were able to show people how our beef is raised, and how we believe any beef people eat should be raised. The joy and peace on people’s faces, being on a working farm and being around animals was worth it to us.“

Open Farm Week is a collaborative statewide agritourism project organized by members of the Vermont Farm to Plate Network including the University of Vermont Extension, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Vermont Fresh Network, Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, Shelburne Farms and Farm‐Based Education, NOFA‐VT, and City Market. Open Farm Week helps reach Vermont’s Farm to Plate food system plan goals to increase farm profitability, local food availability, and consumption of Vermont food products.

Open Farm Week is made possible by our sustaining sponsors: City Market/Onion River Coop, NOFA-VT, and DigInVT.com, along with the generous time commitment of Farm to Plate Network organizers. Learn more at DiginVT.com.


Farm Equipment, Depreciation and the New Tax Law

The following information is provided by Nationwide®, the #1 farm and ranch insurer in the U.S.

Buy, lease or hold the old? The changes in tax law will impact decisions you as a farm operator make over the next several years. These decisions may center around farm equipment, livestock and other assets that depreciate.

The new law revised the rules around depreciation and it will allow full and immediate expensing for purchases over the next several years. The new law, however, ended like-kind exchanges (the replacing of a depreciating asset without paying the taxes on the new item) and that can affect the way you approach your personal property, such as equipment and livestock and the taxation of these assets.

The nitty gritty. The rule on expensing and bonus depreciation was changed to permit full expensing of most newly purchased depreciable property used in a farming operation through 2022. Arguably one of the largest changes to depreciation is the expansion of Internal Revenue Code section 179 to allow used equipment to receive the same treatment as if it were “new”.

 Questions to ask

 What it means for From a tax standpoint, farmers will now need to think more strategically when buying and selling farm equipment and other farm items. They may consider alternative methods like using a charitable remainder trust to sell a property to avoid paying tax on the sale.

 When thinking about using a charitable remainder trust or other business planning strategies it’s important to enlist the help of qualified professionals who don’t have a stake in the final decisions. Qualified professionals may include your banker, your accountant, your personal attorney or a financial or estate planner.

 If you would like to help in finding a qualified professional to speak with, contact the Nationwide® Land As Your Legacy® team at LAYL@nationwide.com or toll-free at 1-855-529-2729.

 Neither Nationwide, nor its employees, its agents, brokers or registered representatives gives legal or tax advice.

 Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, Nationwide is on your side and Land As Your Legacy are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2018 Nationwide

LAM-2930AO (04/18)


Nominate the Best in Agriculture!

Members To Be Recognized at Vermont Farm Bureau's 103rd Annual Meeting and Conference November 2-3, 2018

Every year members are recognized for their exemplary service to agriculture at Vermont Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting and Conference.  This year's meeting is November 2 -3 at Trader Duke's Hotel in Burlington.

Agriculture plays a critical role in Vermont's economy, and it's important to publicly recognize the individuals and families that produce, educate, and contribute to our beautiful state. Categories are:

Vermont Century Farm:  Century Award application

This award is given to recognize farmers who have maintained the home farm in the same family for 100 years or more.

Since 1953, the Vermont State Grange and the Vermont Farm Bureau have jointly sponsored the Vermont Century Farms Program. in doing so, the two organizations have continued a project begun in 1951 under the leadership of Dr. Arthur Wallace Peach, who was the director of the Vermont Historical Society.

The Cornwall Award: Cornwall Award Application

The Cornwall Award honors the best overall County Farm Bureau program in Vermont.  it is named in memory of Vermont Farm Bureau’s 1st president, Ellsworth B. Cornwall. It is in his honor, and in the tradition of leadership excellence that the truly dedicated and successful County Farm Bureaus, with their leaders and members, are proudly recognized.

Farm Woman of the Year Award:  Farm Woman of the Year Application

Selection of the winning farm woman is based on efforts in both the chosen occupation and leadership achievement.

Young Farmer Achievement Award:  Young Farmer Achievement Award Application

Vermont Farm Bureau  annually conducts a young farmer achievement award program. County Farm Bureaus are encouraged to promote this activity in their own county. Selection of the winning young farmer individual or family is based on their efforts in both their chosen occupation and leadership achievement.  Participation in this program with individual recognition and the resulting publicity will help build the organization.

Farm Family of the Year Award: Farm Family of Year Application 

Vermont Farm Bureau annually conducts an outstanding farmer award program. Selection of the winning farmer (farm family) is based on efforts in both the chosen occupation and leadership achievement

The Wallace award: The Wallace Award Application 

The Wallace Award is named for past Vermont Farm Bureau president, Keith Wallace and is presented annually in the spirit of recognizing vermont’s finest agriculturists. first presented in 1975, this highest award given by vVermont Farm Bureau honors individuals or couples for their distinguished lifetime service to agriculture.

Applications are due at the Farm Bureau office by October 1, 2018.

Mail to:

Vermont Farm Bureau Awards Committee
Vermont Farm Bureau
117 West Main Street
Richmond, VT 05477


NEW Survey developed by UVM to understand farmer perspectives 

Understanding How Government Regulations Affect Farms and Farmers

Description:  A new research study at the University of Vermont seeks farmers for two opportunities to understand farmer perspectives about government regulations on their farms.  The project is funded by the James M. Jeffords Center for Policy Research at the University of Vermont.  The project will also interview state-level policymakers.

 Online Survey: Farmers can directly and immediately participate in an online survey about government regulations on their farms by going to: https://survey.uvm.edu/index.php/627721.   Survey responses are anonymous and farmers can be entered in a drawing for one of ten $50 cash compensations.  Questions about the online survey can be directed to Meredith Niles, Assistant Professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at UVM, at 802-656-4337 or mtniles@uvm.edu.

 Interviews: We also seek to interview farmers about their experience complying with government regulations on their farm, especially the Required Agricultural Practices (RAPS). Farmers are being sought to represent diverse agricultural industries, production methods, farm sizes, and generation (new farmers, multiple generation farmers).  Research will involve an audio-recorded interview, which will take approximately one hour.  Farmers will not be identified in the research outcomes and all information will remain anonymous.  For their time, farmers will be compensated $50. To express your interest for participating in the project, and schedule a time for an interview, please contact Courtney Hammond Wagner at 802-560-5587 or courtney.hammond@uvm.edu.






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, Jackie Folsom, 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 -