Motorists in the areas of Plainfield, Groton, Calais, Williamstown, Washington, and Barre may notice new flashing road signs reading “Don’t move ash firewood beyond this point.” The signs are part of an inter-agency partnership between the Agency of Transportation, the Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation (VTFPR) and the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (AAFM) to slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), which has been detected in the vicinity. Signs are located on state highways and are visible to motorists leaving the EAB-infested areas.
EAB’s most common and damaging mode of transportation is by hitching a ride on firewood into a new area. To slow the spread, VTFPR is recommending that no ash firewood that has not been heat-treated be transported out of the known infested area, including loads of mixed firewood that may include ash logs that were harvested within the infested area. Ash firewood may be transported within the infested area.
The signs will be in place through Memorial Day weekend. In addition to their message, they serve as a visual reminder of where the borders of the infested area lie.
Vermonters outside the EAB-infested area and throughout the state should always ask their firewood dealer where the wood is coming from. The rule of thumb is to not move any untreated firewood more than 50 miles, and Vermonters living outside the infested area can do their part to slow the spread of EAB by making sure they are not purchasing infested ash.
EAB overwinter as larvae under the bark of ash trees where they feed on the inner bark tissue. Once infested, ash trees rapidly decline and are killed in 3-5 years. This pest is known to be established in 32 states and three Canadian provinces, and is responsible for widespread decline and mortality of hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America.
Vermonters are encouraged to look for signs and symptoms of the emerald ash borer and report suspicious findings on VTinvasives.org. Detailed information about the pest and what to look for may be found at the same website. Vermonters can also learn more about what EAB damage looks like and how to report a potential sighting by visiting http://agriculture.vermont.gov/Emerald_Ash_Borer. Video and pictures of EAB damage in Vermont can also be found there. Private land owners looking for information about managing ash in woodlots and UVA (current use) plans should contact their county forester, contacts for which can be found at http://fpr.vermont.gov.
–Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, & Markets began accepting applications for Producer Association Grants Thursday, May 3 at 9:00 AM on a first-come, first-serve basis for eligible applicants.
Eligible applicants are Vermont-based nonprofit producer association groups that represent and promote Vermont agriculture, food, beverage, forest, and fiber products. For the purposes of this grant, producer association group is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry.
A total of $16,000 in grants funds are available and grants of $1,000-$2,000 will be awarded. Project proposals need to be part of an established, multi-year marketing plan and growth strategy of the industry represented and must end before November 15, 2018.
VAAFM expects funding to be allocated quickly. Other first come, first serve grants have been fully allocated within the first hour of the grant opportunity opening.
Questions related to the Vermont Producer Association Grant Program should be directed at (802) 505-1822 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is reminding Vermont farmers that the window is closing on the opportunity to participate in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. To date, NASS has received just over 4,600 completed questionnaires from Vermont farmers. NASS is encouraging U.S. producers who have not returned their completed Census questionnaires to do so as soon as possible to avoid phone and in-person follow-up.
The Census differs from other NASS surveys. It provides information about Vermont agriculture that would not otherwise be available. Without it, information on the agriculture’s economic impact, demographics, and data on certain commodities, such as nursery/greenhouse, aquaculture, and equine would not be available. Revisions to the questionnaire in 2017 include new queries about military veteran status, decision-making on the farm, and food marketing practices.
"NASS is grateful for the response from producers to date, but it is important that the others who received a Census questionnaire join their neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family in being part of the Census count," said Gary Keough, NASS State Statistician for the six New England States
"If you produced and sold $1,000 or more of agricultural product in 2017, or normally would have produced and sold that much, we need to hear from you," said Keough. "If you're a landowner who leases your land to a producer, we need to hear from you. If you received a census but do not fit this definition of a farm, please write your status on the form and send it back."
Keough noted that NASS has already begun to follow up with producers who have not yet completed the questionnaire.
"We sent the questionnaire to many potential farmers and ranchers who may not be familiar with it. The follow-up will give them and other producers the opportunity to ask questions," said Keough. "Some farmers and ranchers were waiting until they gathered their tax documents before completing the Census; having that information handy will certainly make filling out the questionnaire faster and easier."
The Census of Agriculture is the only comprehensive source of agriculture data for every state and county in the nation. Census data are used by policymakers, trade associations, researchers, agribusinesses, educators, and many others. The information helps inform decisions on farm policy, rural development, and new farm technologies. It also aids in the creation and funding of loans and insurance programs and other forms of assistance, as well as in the cultivation of the next generation of farmers and ranchers.
Producers can respond to the 2017 Census of Agriculture online at www.agcounts.usda.gov or by mail. The same law, Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113, that requires response also requires NASS to keep all information confidential, to use the data only for statistical purposes, and to only publish in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation. NASS will release Census results in February 2019.
For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture or for assistance with the questionnaire, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call toll-free (888) 424-7828.
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
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 -