Members haven’t yet been appointed
By Diego Flammini
Vermont’s governor is taking action to ensure the state’s ag sector can thrive post-pandemic.
Gov. Phil Scott signed an executive order on Feb. 19 calling for the creation of the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Vermont Agriculture.
The commission, once assembled, “will focus on ensuring the viability and adaptability of this sector, including recommendations for more cross-sector collaboration, increasing production and promotion, reducing barriers to entry and increasing diversity within the sector, and continued progress on environmental issues.”
The commission will be required to compile its findings into a report which they must submit to Governor Scott in November.
State Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts will co-chair the commission. It will also include members of the maple and dairy sectors and people with experience in environmental and land use issues.
Agriculture plays an important role in Vermont.
The sector is responsible for 64,000 direct jobs and contributes $11.3 billion in annual economic output.
And like other states, Vermont’s ag sector has been affected by COVID-19.
On Feb. 16, for example, the Vermont Maple Sugar Markers’ Association announced the cancellation of its Maple Open House Weekend. This event usually brings about 700 people to a Vermont farm over the weekend to learn about maple syrup production.
Ensuring Vermont farmers are well equipped to provide food once COVID-19 is in the past is essential, commission members say.
“This commission will lead to economic development in the agricultural sectors by helping farmers, producers and businesses create new markets and new jobs,” Secretary Tebbetts said in a statement. “It’s important we do this work today and for future generations.”
Farms.com has contacted members of Vermont’s ag community for comment on the work the governor’s commission will be doing.