Did your farm experience damage from recent wind storms?
Financial Assistance Available
he Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets urges farmers seeking financial recovery assistance to apply for emergency loans as soon as possible. On October 31, 2017 more than 20 Vermont farms reported damage or problems caused by wind storms Sunday night and Monday morning. This storm is a multi-day event and it’s likely more farms will be impacted as energy crews work to restore power. In many cases, agricultural structures like greenhouses, high tunnels, hoop barns and other mobile field shelters were significantly damaged.
Several dairy farms continue to use generators to power milking operations, presenting additional logistical challenges. As Vermont sugarmakers begin to survey the woods, damages to trees, pipelines and facilities are being reported. In some areas, full restoration could take until the weekend. Any farms requiring emergency assistance are getting help through the Vermont State Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
The Vermont Farm Fund (VFF), a program of the Center for an Agricultural Economy, offers an emergency loan program to help farmers recover from natural disasters. The program currently has around $70,000 in available funding. The maximum loan amount is $10,000 with 0% interest, payable over 24 months.
Once an application is submitted, most emergency loan requests are approved within 14 business days. To apply, download an application here. For additional information about the Vermont Farm Fund program visit www.VermontFarmFund.org, or contact the VFF Program Manager, Kate Stephenson, at Kate@vermontfarmfund.org.
The Agency of Agriculture continues to encourage farmers to document any losses from the recent storm. It’s helpful to take pictures and keep detailed records. This information could be valuable for farmers, state and federal officials as they calculate the economic impact of this wind storm.
If you need immediate assistance, want to report damage or have any questions please call the Agency’s emergency line at 802-241-5497, or the state assistance line 2-1-1. You can also email agr.Helpdesk@Vermont.gov or contact the Agency at 802-828-2430.
Highlights of Vermont Farm Bureau's 102nd Annual Meeting
Vermont Farm Bureau celebrated 102 years of grassroots discussion and policy making at their Annual Meeting on November 3-4 at the Taconic Hotel in Manchester, Vermont.
Thank you Annual Meeting Sponsors for Your Generous Support!
Please visit a list of our annual meeting sponsors at http://vtfb.org/vermont-farm-bureau-ARC-Resource-Center.php
Carlene Hellus Elected Treasurer of Vermont Farm Bureau
Carlene Hellus of Windham County Farm Bureau was elected Treasurer. Hellus will replace Dr. Bruce Shields of Lamoille County who has served Vermont Farm Bureau for the past 25 years. Carlene and her husband Chip own and operate Fowl Mountain Farm in Dummerston, Vermont. They offer farm fresh eggs, chicken, pheasant as well as Thanksgiving Turkeys. Everything is raised and processed on the farm and offered for sale in the Brattleboro area.
Nationwide Agent Awards
Nationwide Board of Director member Terry McClure assisted Vermont Farm Bureau President Joe Tisbert in recognizing Nationwide Agencies. Mary Cobb and Roy Folsom of the Fewer Agency in Barre were awarded Nationwide Top Farm Premium Producer and Most Farm Bureau Memberships Enrolled. Stuart Farnham of the Frazer Agency in Windsor and the Mullen Agency in St. Albans tied for second place for the Nationwide Top Farm Premium Producer.
Bruce Templeton of Templeton Farm in East Montpelier, VT received the Wallace Award. He was nominated by Washington County Farm Bureau for his outstanding service to agriculture. He had a 35 year career with SCS/NRCS where he assisted thousands of landowners and farmers with a host of soil and water issues on their farms. He is also an active farmer with grass fed beef and a thriving maple operation. This past spring farm he handed over the farm to his sons, Ryan and Seth and continues to be involved and is living "the dream".
Bruce Templeton receives the Wallace Award.
Representative Harvey Smith Receives President's Award
Harvey Smith, Addison County Representative and former Addison County Farm Bureau president, received the President's Award following "The Uniting the Future of Agriculture" dinner on Friday evening. The President’s Award recognizes a person or organization that works on behalf of Vermont Agriculture and has listened to the concerns of Vermont Farm Bureau. This is Harvey's third Vermont Farm Bureau Award. He received the Award for Young Farmer of the Year in 1975 and Farmer of the Year in 1992. Congratulations Harvey!
Daughter Sara Smith, President's Award winner Harvey Smith and Grand daughter AnnaJo Smith in front of the Taconic Hotel.
Windsor County Farm Bureau Wins Packard Award for Best Annual Meeting
Fifty or so members and legislators attended Windsor County Farm Bureau's Annual Meeting. Attendees were treated to Prime Rib, mashed potatoes and gravy which was cooked and served by the Frazer Agency of Windsor. This was followed by an assortment of homemade pies that included; apple, raspberry, blueberry, chocolate and more. The business meeting followed with some lively discussions about the upcoming legislative season. David ran a tight meeting and got business done in short order.
Slices of homemade pie from the Windsor County Farm Bureau's Annual Meeting.
Social Media Workshops
The afternoon Social Media workshops led by Johnna Miller, Director of Advocacy & Media Training for American Farm Bureau Federation® were well attended as she guided participants through the workings of facebook, twitter and other platforms.
Photo of Vermont Farm Bureau Vice President Tim Buskey with Johnna Miller.
Do I have to Certify My Small Farm? Starting July 1, 2017 Annual Self-Certification Required
Farming operations that meet the threshold of a Certified Small Farm will be required to self-certify their operation with the Agency of Agriculture annually. The first certification form is due between July 1, 2017 and January 31, 2018. Small farms that meet the criteria to be considered a Certified Small Farm Operation (CSFO) will need to annually certify compliance with the RAPs as well as develop and implement nutrient management plans. Visit http://agriculture.vermont.gov/sfo and click on the green button that says, "Do I have to Certify?" for a detailed diagram to help determine your farm classification size.
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, Lyn Desmarais, 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 -