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ACT NO. 48

(S.208)

Diversified Agricultural Development;

Apple Grower Assistance

This act amends and brings up-to-date existing state policy of supporting and promoting a diversified agricultural sector in Vermont.

The act also directs the Department of Agriculture, Food and Markets to undertake a set of one-time initiatives fostering greater efficiency, productivity and profitability among the dozens of different commodity groups making up the Vermont agricultural sector today. These initiatives will include: preparation of a comprehensive plan for future diversified agriculture development; ongoing support of producers through training and technical assistance, marketing and commodity distribution, and public education, and the award of grants supporting individual producers and producer associations.

Similarly, the act directs the department of agriculture, food and markets to provide a one-time program of assistance to Vermont commercial apple growers, to help growers weather the current economic crisis in the apple industry in Northeastern United States.

These one-time initiatives are supported financially by the appropriation of $470,000 in general funds by Sec. 267(18) of Act No. 62, the FY 2000 Omnibus Appropriations Act. Of this amount, $320,000 is to be used for the diversified agricultural development initiatives, and the remaining $150,000 is to be used for the apple grower assistance program.

Effective Date: July 1, 1999