Check back often for up-to-date highlights and developments in Vermont’s dairy industry.
Chuck Ross, Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, has issued the following statement in response to news from Washington that the House of Representatives will not vote on the 2012 Farm Bill in advance of the current bill’s expiration on September 30, 2012:
Jay Peak Resort welcomed more than 100 Vermont state officials, food industry and agricultural heads from 11 northeast states for Ski Vermont’s presentation of a contribution of $8,495 to the Keep Local Farms program at the opening night of the annual Northeast Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NEASDA) reception Sunday, June 5.
“The dairy industry is a critical component of our economy, communities and open working landscape. The shortage of domestic labor is particularly acute for dairy farmers, who need year – round employees.”
MONDAY, April 18 – U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure that dairy farmers in Vermont and across the country can use a visa program long used by other sectors of the agriculture industry to hire foreign workers. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is a cosponsor of Leahy’s bill, and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) has supported similar efforts in the House of Representatives.
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is very pleased to announce that FARM FIRST is continuing for a second year. In its first year, 87 dairy producers and family members were assisted through the FARM FIRST program. FARM FIRST is supported by the Agency of Agriculture and the University of Vermont Extension as well as generous sponsorships from many other agriculture organizations.
Vermont Dairy Farmers were recognized for the high quality of their milk at the Dairy Farmers’ Banquet held during the 77th annual Vermont Farm Show. Awards were presented to dairy farmers based on results in each of five quality categories. Overall scores then determined the top farms for the state’s Highest Milk Quality Awards. The 2010 winner is the Meyer Family of North Hardwick Dairy – for the seventh year in a row!
Remarks to the New England Dairy Promotion Delegates Roger Allbee, Vt. Secretary of Agriculture, Foo
The relationship between your organization and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture has been very positive. Gary Wheelock and his staff are very dedicated professionals who have the interest of dairy farmers’ welfare in mind at all times. We have seen this in their work on Farm to School nutritional initiatives and also on the Keep Local Farms marketing efforts. These activities have energized a new generation of consumers.
Essex Junction, Vt - Monday was the start of National School Lunch week and there was something to celebrate at Summit Street School in Essex Junction - a new milk contract that will provide 135 Vermont schools with milk that supports the health of our children, local farms and the environment.
Montpelier, VT – This week, Allen Lumber, the Vermont building supply company, joined forces with local dairy farmers to launch the Keep Local Farms™ initiative throughout its six Vermont stores. Allen Lumber is the second retailer in the country to implement the Keep Local Farms program. Hannaford Supermarkets announced their partnership in January. The initiative will help raise funds for local northeast dairy farmers, ensure a local, fresh supply of milk, and provide customers a way to support local dairy farmers and the local food network they help to sustain.
Burlington, Vt – During the recent visit of USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to Vermont, dairy industry leaders from across the state came together to present a statement on behalf of dairy producers encouraging Secretary Vilsack to address the issues and challenges of the dairy industry.
Northeast Agriculture Officials Urge the U.S. Department of Labor to Provide Eligibility to Dairy Fa
Montpelier, Vt – The USDA Department of Labor is currently reviewing a rule concerning Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A workers in the United States. In response, Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Roger Allbee, in collaboration with his counterparts in numerous Northeastern states, has submitted written testimony to urge the Department of Labor to review the proposed regulations so that dairy farmers are not excluded from utilizing the benefits of the H-2A program. Senator Leahy has also strongly urged the Department of Labor to exercise its discretion under the special procedures provision to allow dairy farmers to be eligible for the H-2A program.
“USDA’s announcement this morning of the implementation of the new Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment (DELAP) program is welcome news to our dairy farmers in Vermont who have been under considerable financial strain facing the lowest prices for milk in decades while costs of production continue to increase.”
In an effort to help the region’s struggling dairy farmers, students at the University of Vermont have agreed to forgo a price reduction on retail milk they would have received due to plummeting milk prices, passing the 10-cent difference on to the 1,025 dairy farms in the state and 1,791 across New England.
Martha Stewart knows good cheese! This month she featured numerous Vermont artisan cheese makers in her Thanksgiving issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine and today she will devote her television show to Vermont cheese makers. The Vermont cheese producers highlighted include Consider Bardwell Farm, Blue Ledge Farm, Jasper Hill Farm, Thistle Hill Farm, Willow Hill Farm, Vermont Butter and Cheese and others.
Montpelier, Vt –U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the USDA will temporarily increase purchase prices for cheese and nonfat dry milk providing much needed relief to struggling farmers. The prices will rise from $1.13 per pound for block cheese to $1.31; barrel cheese, from $1.10/lb. to $1.28; nonfat dry milk powder, from $0.80/lb. to $0.92. This has the potential to increase the price paid to farmers for milk by $1.25 to $1.50 per hundredweight.
Montpelier, Vt - Vermont Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee applauded the testimony given today by Congressman Welch to the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture about the crisis our dairy farmers are facing.
Montpelier, VT. – Over the past week did you purchase a Vermont dairy product? If so, your effort may have helped prevent the closure of another neighbor’s Vermont farm. This past weekend, while many Vermonters went about their usual Saturday activities including grocery shopping for the week, many in Northern Chittenden and Franklin County participated in a collective effort to support Vermont’s needy families and struggling dairy farmers by purchasing a Vermont dairy product. Over 2,300 pounds of product was donated during the first drive.
Burlington, VT – On Sunday, August 23rd, dozens of cheesemakers and other artisan food producers will gather in Shelburne, VT, for the first annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival. The one-day event, hosted by the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese, the Vermont Butter & Cheese Company, and the Vermont Cheese Council, will be held from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Coach Barn at picturesque Shelburne Farms.
Colchester, VT , April 1, 2009 – Paul Remillard, Executive Director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Vermont announced today that because of low dairy prices across the country, producers participating in USDA’s Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program will soon begin to receive payments.
Governor Douglas announces availability of low interest loans for spring planting costs
USDA announces decision to utilize surplus nonfat dry milk for nutrition programs
Highgate Center, Vt - The Choiniere Family Farm in Highgate Center has won the Vermont Sustainable Agriculture Council’s coveted Sustainable Farm Award for 2008. A third generation dairy farm, the Choiniere Farm is operated by Guy and Beth Choiniere and their parents. Like many dairies around the state, the farm has increased its financial viability in recent years by transitioning to organic milk and reducing expensive grain imports. The Choinieres have completely eliminated off-farm protein purchases and reduced energy inputs by adopting many innovations to improve soil health and forage quality.