USDA confirms a second case of (HPAI) Highly Pathogenic H7 Avian Influenza at a second Tennessee location

The USDA has confirmed a second case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Lincoln Country, Tennessee, in a commercial breeder flock less than two miles from where the disease was detected earlier this month. The first case of HPAI was confirmed in a  commercial poultry flock of 73,500.

All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through the Office of the Vermont State Veterinarian (802-828-2421) or through USDA's toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593. These virus strains can travel in wild birds without them appearing sick.  Additional information on biosecurity for can be found at www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/defendtheflock


 *   Guidance for Vermont Poultry Producers - an overview of preventative measures

*   Business and Market Protection Checklist - guidance to help maintain business continuity in the event of an outbreak

USDA Producer Information Sheet - an FAQ from our Federal animal health partners

 Producer Biosecurity Audit Form - a checklist Vermont producers can complete and return to the Agency of Ag, to assist with preparedness

*   Press Release from USDA APHIS with details about the Lincoln County, TN HPAI outbreak.

Please share this information with other poultry producers who may not have access to this information! 

For more information and resources related to HPAI prevention, please visit:


If you have questions, please contact the Office of the State Veterinarian at (802) 828-2421 or agr.animalhealth@vermont.gov.


Wednesday, February 22 Farm Bureau Day at the State House A Resounding Success

Our second State House day was another resounding success. More than 25 members attended. We started at 8 am with coffee and pastries in the cafeteria, speaking with our various legislators. At 9 am we went to House Agriculture and Forestry to listen to a discussion of a bill, on where municipal laws and Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets oversight intersects. 

Young farmers, Annajo Smith,  Vermont Farm Bureau's new Young Farmer chair, Kaleigh Hamel of Washington County who works with oxen, Clara Ayer, of Fairmont Farms dairy, an LFO from East Montpelier, Cianon Hill, of Four Hills Farm, an LFO dairy in New Haven, Michelle Poulin, of Poulin and Daughters son, a diversified beef and maple farm with a restaurant, and Nicolina Norman  (who is 9 years old), her parents have a horse farm in Rutland county. 

In addition Joe Tisbert, and Ray Duquette spoke. We also heard briefly from Chip and Carlene Hellus. 

In Senate Agriculture the Hellas' participated in the discussion of S.9 on poultry slaughtering. Young farmers were introduced again. A few had to leave but we were joined by Tim McVee of Laughing Child Farm and Peter Briggs a dairy farmer from New Haven. Gilbert Patnoe and his wife retired farmers from Franklin County Anne Tisbert introduced Jay to the Senate Committee, Terry Gulick a retired farmer and now a chestnut tree grower. We all enjoyed lunch together and a few of us stayed into the afternoon to listen to bills in House Agriculture and Forestry and House Natural Resources. 

Thank you everyone for attending and supporting our young farmers. Thanks to the four county presidents: Rosina Wallace of Washington County, Chip Hellus of Windham County, Ray Duquette of Rutland County and Julie Smith of Chittenden County for attending. Your leadership and volunteerism is very much appreciated. 



Celebrate and Educate: March 21 is National Agriculture Day

From feeding our people to supplying resources and impacting the economy, agriculture and its producers fuel our communities and help many individuals find their place and purpose, whether it’s on the farm or along the food supply chain.

This year’s National Agriculture Day falls on Tuesday, March 21, a time when producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America gather to recognize and celebrate the abundance that agriculture provides. Organized by the Agriculture Council of America, National Ag Day’s purpose is to increase awareness of agriculture’s vital role in our society. Visit https://www.agday.org/



AGRITOURISM WORKSHOP Wednesday, March 29 from 9-2:00pm at The Eagles Club 

Due to the amount of interest expressed by Vermont farmers Vermont Farm Bureau will be hosting an Agritourism Workshop on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 from 9:00 to 2:00 pm at the Eagles Club, 1233 Shelburne Rd, South Burlington, Vermont. 

Although Agritourism brings in billions of dollars to the state of Vermont its definition has not been clearly defined. The workshop includes three different panels to create a more thorough understanding of the industry for the farming community who may wish to pursue an agritourism-based business.   

A team of specialist involved in advising, promoting, defining and enforcing local town ordinances associated with agritourism will start the workshop. Farmers involved in will follow. They will share their experiences, joys and challenges of running an agritourism business.  A team of Nationwide® Insurance Farm Certified representatives will present possible liability issues of running a farm based business

This workshop is sponsored by Vermont Farm Bureau and Nationwide® Insurance and welcomes all commodity groups, farmers and members of the public.  Lunch will be provided. There is no charge for this event but attendees must RSVP by March 23 to gwheelervfb@gmavt.net or 802-434-5646. Our full Agritourism agenda





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 -