$14 million proposed to grow the agriculture economy

Food Producers and Value-Added Processors Funding Proposal

Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets As spring approaches, farmers are cultivating seedlings while the Legislature starts to wrap up their work in Montpelier. There will be a flurry of activity; some proposals will grow into law, but many will not. As these bills unfold, the agriculture community continues to advocate for a major initiative in the Governor’s budget that would make significant investments in produce, meat, and maple. We have presented this proposal to lawmakers as they deliberate the budget.

This one-time $10 million dollar appropriation will allocate funding to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets to provide competitively awarded grants. This support will be directed toward small and mid-sized agricultural producers and value-added processors in the meat, produce, and maple sectors, which remain under-resourced or ineligible for most currently available programs. At the same time, these industries are poised for growth and add diversity to Vermont’s agricultural landscape and economy.

This proposal will support one of the core focus areas of the Governor’s Future of Vermont Agriculture Commission. The group is focused on leveraging economic development, supporting strong local food systems, and investing in the success of the next generation of Vermont farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs. Grants could include expanding slaughter and processing capacity for meat and poultry. They could also support post-harvest handling, processing, and distribution for fruits, vegetables, and grains. Grants will even focus on increasing capacity and production for value-added and new maple products. All these sectors will grow when backed by greater investment.

The Vermont agriculture community is also working with lawmakers to champion an initiative to support Vermont’s Working Lands Program. The Governor has proposed investing $4 million dollars in this successful program. We believe it is critical to continue to invest in those who make their living off the land, on the farm, or in the forest. This initiative, working in tandem with funding for the meat, produce, and maple sectors, deliver a total investment of $14 million dollars for growing the Agriculture economy.

Now is our time to invest in our farmers and producers. They feed us and contribute to our rural economy. As the spring unfolds, we will continue to advocate for these proposals and ultimately, Governor Scott’s action to create new laws to support Vermont agriculture. Here’s to planting, growing, and nurturing new ideas and fresh outcomes in the spring of 2023.

Anson Tebbetts

Explore the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative
Meat Slaughter & Processing Capacity Survey
Meat Slaughter & Processing Capacity Survey

Are you a meat slaughter and/or processing business?

Please take a moment to fill out this survey that will help the Agency of Agriculture and our partners better assess Vermont's meat slaughter and processing capacity as well as workforce assistance needs.

Your input is vital to help us understand the needs on the ground and how the Agency of Agriculture can support this industry.

Please provide only one response per facility and complete your responses by March 27th.

Take the survey

Equity in Conservation Cooperative Agreements

Equity in Conservation Outreach Cooperative Agreements

USDA is investing $70 million in cooperative agreements to support outreach to underserved producers and communities about opportunities with the Natural Resources Conservation Service for natural resource conservation, climate-smart agriculture, and forestry.

Agreements are available for up to three-year projects that extend outreach to farmers who are beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and veterans.

The maximum award is $1 million. You can view a pre-recorded webinar that outlines the funding and the application process..

Applications due April 27th

Reminder: NOFA-VT Direct Markets Survey

Reminder: Fill Out the NOFA-VT Direct Markets Survey

A reminder to please consider filling out the NOFA-VT Direct Markets Survey.

The survey aims to gather data about the 2022 season for NOFA-VT to speak about the state of direct-markets in Vermont, and to update the NOFA-VT Farmstand/CSA Directory.

Your responses are confidential. The survey will take 30-40 minutes to complete. Please contact Andrew Graham, Direct Markets Coordinator at NOFA-VT, with questions.

Take the survey

Managing Liability for Your Vermont Agritourism Operation

Managing Liability for Your Vermont Agritourism Operation

Incorporating agritourism activities on your farm can be a great way to promote your brand, engage with your ideal customers, create a profound impact on visitors, and increase revenue for your business.

However, many Vermont farms are hesitant to get started with agritourism due to concerns around their liability when having visitors onsite.

This week on the blog, we discuss how to leverage the protections offered to agritourism hosts through Act 31 of 2021.

Read the full blog!

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Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
116 State St. Montpelier, VT 05620