VEDA's Online Journal

VEDA Guest Post:  What’s Going on in Vermont’s Agricultural Economy?

Jun 30, 2017 8:06:29 AM

 

by Anson Tebbetts
Secretary, Vermont Agency of Agriculture

Young Vermonters want to farm in Vermont.

vermonts-agricultural-economyI hear it as I travel around the Green Mountains. I recently traveled to Starksboro for a meet and greet with several farmers who are working the land and raising animals. They belong to the Vermont Chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition. As we gathered around the garlic and other vegetables, it was clear they love what they do and they want to grow their businesses. Currently they are selling locally at Farmers’ Markets and through a CSA program. They are growing produce and selling eggs. Some are raising chickens and pigs for meat. Others are growing hops for the craft beer industry in Vermont.

It’s no secret there are challenges for those in agriculture. This group told me they were only in business because somewhere along the way they “got the one break” that made the difference. We talked about their needs. They are seeking knowledge from others in farming. The coalition wanted to meet more dairy farmers. The Agency of Agriculture will introduce them to Cabot and St. Albans Co-op. Both co-ops are enthusiastic about a potential partnership with these young farmers. Both sides agree they can learn from each other. It’s likely their challenges are not that much different.

I also traveled recently to Franklin County and met a young farmer in Fletcher. He was proud of what he and his family were doing. They were milking about 200 cows. The barn was spotless. The cows were comfortable. The family had installed robotic machines in a new barn. Four of the machines were churning away. The Jerseys were milked on one side, the Holsteins on the other. The young farmer loved his work. He proudly showed me the calf and heifer barn. The calves roamed about standing in thick sawdust pushing big toy balls around. The calves were healthy and living in heaven. He wanted to farm. He wanted me to tell his story.

We need to embrace these young people working in agriculture. We need to work harder on their behalf. All farmers need affordable land and equipment, access to markets, and neighbors willing to share their knowledge. Over the next few months, the Agency will do its best to make it more affordable for farmers to farm. We value our working relationships with VEDA, VACC and other partners, and we welcome any suggestions you have to offer in support of meeting one of our goals.


anson-tebbetts-853454-edited.jpgAbout the Author: Anson Tebbetts
Secretary, Vermont Agency of Agriculture

Anson Tebbetts is Vermont’s Secretary of Agriculture, Food, and Markets.  He is also a member of VEDA's Board of Directors, and Deputy Secretary Alyson Eastman serves as his Designee.  Learn more about Anson by visiting the website for Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets.


Learn more about VEDA's Agricultural Financing Options here

 

Topics: Agriculture