Agency of Agriculture

We got questions and comments from many of you after our discussion of Ben & Jerry's social mission with Will Allen. Here's some of what we found out.
Kathleen Masterson / VPR/file

Back in August, Vermont Edition had a discussion about whether Ben & Jerry's is fulfilling its social mission. We got a lot of feedback on that show, and a lot of it was critical specifically of some of the statements made by one of our guests, Will Allen.

Green Mountain CBD's hemp farm in Hardwick. Since this photos the hemp plants seen here have more than doubled in size.
Jon Kalish / For VPR

More than 80 Vermonters registered with the Agency of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp in 2017, the third growing season since legalization in 2013. And while more than four times the number of people who signed up last year are growing in 2017, experienced growers have had a range of experiences.

The Agency of Agriculture has reached a settlement agreement with a Springfield slaughterhouse that violated federal livestock handling standards.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

A new study led by a University of Vermont researcher finds that the majority of farmers say the cost of health insurance is a top concern for the viability of their business.

Howard Weisss-Tisman / VPR

Vermont grass-fed beef is in high demand, and if the market wants to continue to grow, there will have to be better collaboration in the industry.

Environmental watchdogs say they’re heartened by Governor-elect Phil Scott’s pick to lead the Agency of Natural Resources, but that it’s too early to discern whether the incoming Republican administration is serious about cleaning up Lake Champlain and tackling some of the other major environmental issues facing Vermont.

Vermont's secretary of agriculture says some farmers here may be eligible for federal disaster aid due to the ongoing drought that's hit elsewhere in New England.

Melody Bodette / VPR

New state water quality rules could soon apply to all of Vermont's farms. The rules will cover not just dairy farms, but also other livestock operations, as well as vegetable and crop farms.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermont has became the first state in the nation to require special labeling for foods made with genetically modified ingredients. But even as lawmakers enact new GMO regulations, this state’s agriculture sector is wholeheartedly embracing the use of GMO crops. And a new report suggests that the use of herbicides has gone up drastically as a result.

JByard / iStock.com

Many Vermont dairy farms are experiencing a tough summer, receiving very low prices for their milk while they’re dealing with high production expenses. The situation has gotten worse, because a financial settlement of a key lawsuit against a national dairy cooperative has been appealed. 

fotoguy22 / iStock

The Agency of Agriculture is holding public hearings on its final proposed new rules required under Vermont's new water quality law, Act 64.

The rules are expected to take effect in September 15, but some farmers are still concerned about some of the provisions.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Three years ago, lawmakers approved new slaughter regulations that gave small farmers a foothold in the local meat market. Those rules are set to expire in July, and lawmakers must now decide whether or not to extend them. 

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Farmers are cheering plans to delay the adoption of new water quality standards on Vermont agriculture operations. Critics, however, say the decision to postpone will only exacerbate the pollution issues that have led to toxic algae blooms in Lake Champlain and other water bodies. 

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Since his first days in office, Gov. Peter Shumlin has sought to bring about a “renaissance” in Vermont agriculture, and he’s dedicated special focus to small, diversified farms. But the owners of many of those small farms say proposed new regulations could threaten their operations.

When Vermont’s large farms file their permits on Feb. 15 they’ll be required to pay a fee for the first time.

AP / Lisa Rathke

Vermont is changing its agriculture practices from "acceptable" to "required" - which means that nearly all of Vermont's farms, no matter their size, will now have to follow them. The Agency of Agriculture has been on the road around the state, presenting a draft of the rules and asking for public input. We're unpacking what's going to change and giving you a chance to ask your questions about the new ag regulations.

Brzozowska / iStock

When it comes to the food service industry, you can't get much bigger than Sodexo. The company has more than 400,000 employees in 80 countries.

Sodexo serves about 35,000 meals a day in Vermont on college campuses and in nursing homes, schools and hospitals.

The developer planning a large mixed-use project at the Randolph exit of I-89 will meet with the environmental groups opposing the plan to try to reach a compromise.

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

The water quality law signed this summer ordered the Agency of Agriculture to make some changes to the state’s accepted agricultural practices.

A draft of the new rules has been released. Farmers are now getting a chance to react at public hearings, and while there is funding and technical assistance available, some farmers are concerned about the cost of compliance.

jtyler / iStock.com

With the passing of Vermont’s Clean Water Act last year, the state has made a serious commitment to tackle the pollution problems plaguing Lake Champlain.

But less well known are recent major updates to the pollution data that’s the guiding force dictating just how much runoff the state needs to cut back.    

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