Listening Tour Prompts the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets to mail complimentary monthly copies of Agriview to All Farmers

Over the course of six weeks, in February and March, the Agency of Agriculture hosted meetings in Lyndonville, Brattleboro, Middlebury, St. Albans, and Montpelier. More than 300 farmers and community members attended. Community members requested consistent and reliable news and information regarding Vermont’s agricultural industry.  In  response the VAAFM has begun to  mail complimentary copies of their agricultural print publication - Agriview - to farmers and producers throughout Vermont.

The goal of this Agriview initiative is to make sure that all members of Vermont’s agricultural community have equal access to the information they need to stay abreast of changing regulations, to get help and answers to questions, to identify and take advantage of available resources, and to stay connected to the ag community.  Visit http://agriculture.vermont.gov/news_media/agriview


Remind Others to Share the Road with Farmers: Be Alert. Be Patient. Be Kind.

That’s the message state officials are sending to Vermont drivers this season, as farmers return to the roads with tractors and heavy equipment.

The Agencies of Agriculture, Transportation, and Department of Public Safety have teamed up to create a new public safety message that reminds Vermonters to take extra care on the roads. They are sharing the PSA with Vermonters on social media, in an effort to build awareness for rural road safety.

 See the video on the Ag Agency’s website here
“Farmers are working hard to grow our economy, and keep Vermont beautiful,” according to Anson Tebbetts, Vermont’s Secretary of Agriculture. “Sometimes they need a little extra patience and care from fellow drivers – let’s give it to them.”
“Living in Vermont means living among our beautiful farms. Farmers are our neighbors, friends, and co-workers,” added Tom Anderson, Commissioner of Public Safety. “We’re asking all motorists to put safety first. Slow down, be patient and courteous, and enjoy the scenery.”

 Ryan Carabeau is a farmer from Richmond who worked with the state to produce the PSA. He says he understands drivers can feel frustrated and confused when they encounter tractors on the road. He hopes the PSA will serve as a reminder to Vermont motorists to be careful.
“I’ve had a few close calls over the years with impatient and distracted drivers,” he says. “It can be scary.”
“Attention, patience, and kindness are key to living and driving in rural communities,” says Tebbetts.
Here are some specific actions motorists should take when they approach a tractor on the road:

1) Slow down: The first thing you should do is slow down. Remember, the top speed for most tractors is 20mph. Slow down and give yourself the time and space to assess the situation.

2) Pay close attention: You should always give the road 100% of your attention – especially when approaching farm equipment.

3) Don’t get too close: Give the farmer some space. Do not tailgate – it causes stress and distraction.

 4) Don’t pass until it is safe: Wait for a safe opportunity to pass. When it’s all clear, it’s OK to pass a tractor, as long as you do so safely!

 5) Be alert for turns: Looks for turn indicators, like hand signals and blinkers from the drivers. Farm machinery makes wide turns. Sometimes tractors will turn directly into fields - no driveway needed. Be especially alert for left hand turns.  The left-turn collision is the most common type of farm machinery collision on public roads. It happens when the farm vehicle is about to make a left turn; meanwhile, the motorist behind the farm vehicle decides to pass.



Vermont Breakfast on the Farm is Back

June 17, 2017 at Fairmont Farm and July 22, 2017 at Blue Spruce Farm

In 2016, Vermont Breakfast on the Farm was held at Nea-Tocht Farm in Ferrisburgh and Green Mountain Dairy Farm in Sheldon. Over 2,000 visitors enjoyed a free breakfast and a first-hand look at a modern dairy farm to better understand how Vermont’s agricultural community works together to produce safe and wholesome food. Vermont Farm Bureau helped to sponsor Breakfast on the Farm which was coordinated by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture with help from volunteers and local businesses.

The Vander Wey Family of Nea-Tocht Farm in Ferrisburgh hosted the event in 2015 and 2016. Prior to hosting Breakfast on the Farm Vermont Fences highlight Nea-Tocht Farm in the Spring 2015 issue. Copies of Vermont Fences were distributed at the first event in 2015 to give insight into this farm family's life and history. Read the full story The Vander Weys of Nea-Tocht Farm: A Family of Distinction.  The first Breakfast on the Farm was documented and featured in the 2016 Spring issue of Vermont Fences titled, An Educational Effort of the Ag Community.  Due to host the August 2016 Breakfast on the Farm The Rowell family of Sheldon were also featured in the Spring 2016 issue, Green Mountain Dairy: Walks the walk and talks the talk. 

This is a FREE event, but a tickets are required! Get your tickets at https://vermontbreakfastonthefarm.com/get-tickets/


American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall to Attend VTFB’s Summer Picnic on August 31

Rutland County Farm Bureau will host this year’s summer picnic on Thursday, August 31 in Brandon. Traditionally, there is a board meeting where legislative priorities are discussed for the coming year followed by a picnic. We are excited and honored that Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), has accepted our invitation to attend.

President of Vermont Farm Bureau Joe Tisbert encourages all of our members to take advantage of this opportunity. “I have been working with him for most of my two terms as your president. Zippy is a uniting force in the high stakes arena of politics in our nation’s capital. Come have a conversation with him and ask Zippy about the agricultural round table with President Trump. He is engaging and uniting all Farm Bureau members. You won’t be disappointed."

Duvall has been president of AFBF since 2016. He’s a third-generation farmer from Georgia. In addition to a 300-head beef cow herd for which he grows his own hay. Duvall and his wife, Bonnie, also grow more than 750,000 broilers per year.


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 

Join us for a legislative breakfast on both Wednesday, Jan 25th and Wednesday, Feb 22nd at the State House Cafeteria at 8:30am in Montpelier.

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 -