Legislative Roundup for Agriculture

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets 2020 was a year of turbulence, uncertainty and change, with many important societal issues highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets has been deeply involved in many of these issues impacting Vermonters, while ensuring that important agriculture considerations continue to stay at the forefront of ongoing legislative discussions.

Several bills impacting the agriculture sector were signed into law this year. Act 74 provides additional funding for multiple agriculture programs, including the Working Lands Enterprise program, agricultural fairs and field days, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and the Farm and Forest Viability Program. It also allocates $500,000 to fund grants to the meat processing and slaughter industries.

Other bills that passed into law include updates to the Current Use program, the creation of a local incentive program to support schools purchasing more Vermont grown and produced food, and an act that limits liability for businesses engaged in agritourism activities. Changes to the regulations surrounding on farm slaughter and the sale of raw milk were also signed into law.

Click Here for a Full Legislative Update
Forestry Research & Resources

The Northeast State Foresters Association recently released five new comprehensive reports on wood markets in the Northeast, detailing strategies for market retention and opportunities for growth. A summary of the reports' findings was provided in a recent webinar hosted by the lead researchers. Additionally, two free mobile apps designed to help Vermont loggers and sawmills enhance their business operations were recently released: LoginVT for logging businesses and iSawVT for sawmill businesses.

Navigating Pandemic Assistance

VHCB’s Farm & Forest Viability Program will be offering coaching services to Vermont’s farm, food, and forest products businesses to navigate the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, including helping with pandemic relief grants. Eligible business owners who are interested in receiving support should complete a brief application to be matched with an advisor who can provide support with topics like: navigating federal & state relief programs, financial and cash flow planning, shifting markets, adapting operations, and more.

Equitable Farmland Tenure

Agrarian Trust and Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust are co-hosting a three-part, online Equitable Land Access (ELA) Co-Learning and Training opportunity. This event will support service providers and other land access advocates to explore and understand the concepts, process and steps involved in creating community based, equitable land tenure strategies to support beginning and Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color farmers in the Northeast.

Event Dates: July 12 / July 26 / Aug. 9

Conservation Conference

The Soil and Water Conservation Society's annual conference is taking place virtually from July 26th through July 28. The conference includes presentations from conservation experts on the latest in soil health, water resources, conservation management, climate change adaptation, social science, and more. It also includes opportunities for personal and professional development where participants can earn certified education credits.

Deadline to Register: July 16

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Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets