Your VOICE Matters!  

Art Whitman, former president of Bennington County Farm Bureau and Chip Hellus, 2nd vice president of Vermont Farm Bureau at Farm Bureau Day at the State House on January 23.  


Join us Thursday, March 15, 2018 Farm Bureau Day at the State House 

Please plan on attending. This is a great opportunity to talk about your farm and the challenges your face. By working together we can have a stronger more effective voice.

8:00 -10:00 a.m - Coffee Talk with Legislators, members and Ag Leaders. Complimentary coffee and muffins. 

10:00 a.m. - Meet with members of the House Committee of Agriculture and Forestry and members of the Senate Agricultural Committee. Meeting rooms to be determined.

Noon - Lunch at the Vermont State House Cafeteria 

1:30-4:00 p.m. Full Board Meeting - Will be held at the Vermont Center for Independent Living, 11 East State Street,  Montpelier. http://wwcvt.org/ 

 PARKING is FREE at the Department of Labor on Memorial Drive with a free shuttle running every 20 minutes to the Statehouse. It starts at 7:00 a.m. and ends at 5:15 p.m.  

 RSVP to Legislative Director Jackie Folsom email crkdbrks@aol.com or call 802 -777-3857 or 802-426-3579. Contact her with any questions or concerns.
Read weekly Legislative updates at http://vtfb.org/under-the-golden-dome.php 



Enrolled in Current Use?  

Your Required Annual Agricultural Certification is due prior to March 30, 2018 or you will be Removed from the Program!    

Did you receive a mailing from the tax department regarding current use last week?
Do not discard it!  Act by March 30 to remain in the Current Use Program.

Last week we were notified by the Vermont Department of Agriculture that over 1000 parcels enrolled in the current use program had not submitted their required annual agricultural certification as required in statute (32 VSA §3755(f)). The due date listed was March 1.

The VAAFM sent us a follow up email with a corrected date of Friday, March 30. Ag certifications were originally due November 1, 2017. The Vermont Department of Taxes sent out a second courtesy letter on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 to these landowners providing them another copy of the form to submit.

The list of parcels required to submit an ag certification is still on the Current Use website. Due to confidentiality, they are unable to winnow this list down to the 1000+ that still have not submitted the form. Therefore, inclusion of the SPAN on the link below only means that the form was required to be submitted for the year.  It does indicate whether or not it has been submitted.


Your span number is on your property tax bill. Here is a sample certification form. The span number has been highlighted in yellow. To look up whether or not you need to certify,  click on “look up your SPAN” and download the excel spreadsheet. We have converted it to a pdf.


• If your parcel is listed and you've not received a form: Please contact the Department
(802) 828-6680 to confirm your mailing address and get a new copy for your specific parcel.

• If you have the form and haven't sent it in: It needs to be completed and sent prior to March 30, 2018.  

If these forms are not provided you will be removed from the Current Use Program and pay full property taxes on the land and buildings that are removed from the program.


Former Vermont Farm Bureau president Clark Hinsdale, III to Auction off Dairy Farm March 21 at 9am

Nordic Farm in Charlotte, Vermont

After forty years of dairy farming and advocating for the industry former Vermont Farm Bureau president Clark Hinsdale, III is calling it quits. A complete auction of cattle and machinery at Nordic Farm in Charlotte, VT has been scheduled for March 21st.  Hinsdale spent much of last year trying to sell Nordic as a turn-key dairy farm with the help of UVM Extension, Vermont Land trust and others. Due to the numbers a decision was made to auction off the dairy.

While this auction will mark the end of dairy farming at Nordic, the farm will be repurposed. Hinsdale has conserved land and sold to other farmers, both young and old to grow berries, grapes, vegetables, hay, hops, raise beef and operate greenhouses. He’s hopeful the dairy will be home to a new ag venture. “Our new dairy barn may make a very nice malt house in the near future.” He writes.

Ron Wright is doing the auction at 9 AM March 21st and Hinsdale hopes to see fellow farmers and members. Auctions are an important social function in Vermont and usually fun unless the auction is yours.  This is not the end of farming for Hinsdale. He’s actively sugaring and escaping to the familiar sounds of the woods and the sugarhouse.





Vermont’s Winter Manure Spreading Runs  December 15 - April 1

The Agency of Ag Reminds Farmers of New Manure Stacking Requirements

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets’ (VAAFM) newly effective Required Agricultural Practices Rule will continue a 20-year winter management requirement for all farms: between December 15 and April 1, no manure or other agricultural wastes (compost, spoiled feed, other wastes) may be spread on fields throughout Vermont.

For additional information regarding the newly effective RAPs, please visit the Agency’s website: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/water-quality/regulations/rap


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 -