Vermont Business Magazine On September 23, 2020 Julie Moore, Chair of the Board of the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) presented the Vermont Lifetime Achievement Award to Roger Allbee of Dummerston for all his contributions to the community, economy, and working landscape of the state.
The award was initiated in 2015 to recognize statewide leaders whose long service exemplified dedication, and honorable service to community and to all of rural Vermont.
Ted Brady, Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Commerce, described how Roger Allbee has been working at the heart of Vermont’s working landscape for more than two generations. “Like no one else he carries the history of agriculture for Vermont.”
Julie Moore, Chair of the Board of the Vermont Council on Rural Development, presenting the 2020 Vermont Lifetime Achievement Award to Roger Allbee of Dummerston Vermont.
Roger was the director of the first program in Vermont to bring the agricultural establishment together with the state to address nonpoint source pollution.
He consulted with the first Current Use Advisory Committee to set the original procedures for current use, verses market rate taxation, for farm and forest lands—this may be as important as Act 250 or any other one single action for preserving and protecting Vermont lands.
He worked for Senator Jeffords to pass the first national agricultural lands protection act as part of the 1982 Farm Bill.
He led work in Farm Credit Banks and Banks for Cooperatives to advance ag lending, then was a founding co-owner of AGTEC, a trade and export company developing markets for specially foods in Europe and Asia.
Allbee came home to Vermont in the early 2000’s as Executive Director of the Farm Service Agency and then Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets.
VCRD recognized Allbee for the way he wove community, economic development, land use and agriculture, together. Throughout his career, Allbee championed the idea that we need to talk about scenic Vermont and tourism alongside agriculture and the forest products industry as all part of Vermont’s “Working Landscape”…he was the first popularizer of these words in Vermont. Roger encouraged, invested, and provided leadership for the Vermont Working Landscape Council which produced the ideas and impetus for the Working Lands Enterprise Program and its investments in creative enterprises on the land.
Roger has also acted as a historian; sharing perspective to guide thoughtful goals and platforms of action.
Paul Costello, Director of VCRD shared that, “Roger’s most powerful strategy is praise. He starts every paragraph using it. He looks first for the good in all his partners, even in his critics. Tries to see others points of view and learn from them. Praises their good intentions. Then, when he’s speaking in a small meeting or major conference he is peppering his remarks with stories of the good works or ideas of others. Putting others in the spotlight. Celebrating their leadership. Making them important. Gearing them for success. Giving them power.
And then, always talking about the team effort and deflecting any idea that he had a hand in the leadership that got things done…when he was behind it all the time and gave the glory to others.
We know it, Rog. We know you’ve made history for Vermont. We know we aren’t done, and we have new work always on the horizon, but we have learned from you how to do it well, and we’ll continue to work in your tradition and with all you’ve taught us. Thank you, Roger, for all you do for Vermont, and for all of us!”