National Ag Leaders To Visit Vermont
The Vermont Farm Bureau will host two national agricultural leaders in the next few weeks.
The American Farm Bureau Federation lobbies in Washington D.C. on behalf of farmers and ranchers. Its President Zippy Duvall is a third generation farmer who served for nine years as president of the Georgia Farm Bureau. He will tour Vermont for four days next week to gather input from farmers in anticipation of the next Farm Bill. Vermont Farm Bureau President Joe Tisbert notes that his organization’s county meetings begin next month. He says it’s important Duvall understands Vermont’s perspectives on Farm Bill policies. “It’s important for him to see that when we bring a policy that we’d like adopted nationally what our members are thinking and how important it is to them. Where our perspective of the Farm Bill is going to come from whether it’s water quality issues, whether it’s funding for specialty crops. I mean there’s so many aspects of the Farm Bill. The American Farm Bureau is the largest agricultural lobby in the world. So when Zippy goes back to D.C. he will say to his staff here’s what I’m hearing. And so at least he’ll have a perspective of what everybody’s saying in the counties and actually in our state and in other states.”
Tisbert says Duvall’s visit is particularly exciting because it’s occurring at the same time the Vermont Farm Bureau plans to unveil a 100-year strategic plan. “Zippy talks tremendously about uniting and engaging agriculture and that’s exactly what our strategic plan is calling for, for us to re-engage and commit counties and to engage Vermont Farm Bureau in helping unify all the different farm groups in Vermont.”
Two days after the visit by the head of the American Farm Bureau Federation, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue is scheduled to tour Vermont. Tisbert says the back-to-back visits by national agricultural leaders is a rare occurrence. “It’s pretty unheard of and we can’t wait to talk with Sonny also and he’ll hear it from all the different angles and I’m sure immigration reform will be a big deal, agricultural immigration reform. I’m sure that Farm Bill how it’s going to play out, what kind of monies are there. I mean it doesn’t look like there’s going to be any increased money in the Farm Bill. And he’ll also be hearing things about water quality and of course with the news that just came out about the TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load of phosphorus to meet EPA water quality standards) in Lake Champlain as being improved dramatically from an agricultural sector is really amazing news.”
The Vermont Farm Bureau has about 3,000 members.