Introduced by Representatives Smith of New Haven, Malcolm of Pawlet, Adams of Hartland, Baker of West Rutland, Bartlett of Dover, Botzow of Pownal, Branagan of Georgia, Brennan of Colchester, Canfield of Fair Haven, Clark of Vergennes, Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford, DePoy of Rutland City, Donaghy of Poultney, Dunsmore of Georgia, Fallar of Tinmouth, French of Randolph, Howrigan of Fairfield, Hudson of Lyndon, Johnson of South Hero, Johnson of Canaan, Lawrence of Lyndon, Livingston of Manchester, McAllister of Highgate, Metzger of Milton, Morrissey of Bennington, Niquette of Colchester, Nuovo of Middlebury, Obuchowski of Rockingham, Potter of Clarendon, Rusten of Halifax, Schiavone of Shelburne, Winters of Swanton, Winters of Williamstown, Young of Orwell and Zuckerman of Burlington
Subject: Agriculture; economic development; technology
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to require the agency of agriculture, food and markets to develop an economic initiative to recruit and provide assistance to businesses developing and commercializing innovative technologies for farm-based energy and nutrient management. The bill would establish an account in the farm viability enhancement program special fund for use in the economic initiative.
AN ACT RELATING TO AGRICULTURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. FINDINGS
Vermont’s efforts to clean up its watersheds with programs such as the Clean and Clear Action Plan will depend largely on the participation and cooperation of the dairy industry and other livestock farms in the state. However, participation in watershed improvement programs may be burdensome and costly for many farms. Technology-based agricultural alternatives or solutions, such as renewable energy development, will lessen the burden on agriculture, provide farms with new revenue sources, and help ensure the success of the state watershed improvement programs. Consequently, the General Assembly should encourage the agency of agriculture, food and markets to study and develop multiple technology-based agricultural alternatives and solutions to help sustain the dairy industry and other livestock farms of Vermont.
Sec. 2. 6 V.S.A. § 4710(g) is added to read:
(g)(1) The agricultural economic development special account is established as a dedicated sub-account of the Vermont farm viability enhancement program special fund. There shall be deposited in such account any monies:
(A) Appropriated by the general assembly to the account; and
(B) Received by the state or the secretary of agriculture, food and markets from any source, public or private, for use for any of the purposes for which the account was established.
(2) The fund shall only be used for the purposes of:
(A) Encouraging private investment in the economic initiative; and
(B) Providing incentives for technology businesses, determined by the agency of agriculture, food and markets to provide critical technological solutions, for the growth of Vermont’s agricultural economy.
Sec. 3. INNOVATIVE AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
The agency of agriculture, food and markets under subdivision 4710(a)(3) of Title 6 shall develop an economic initiative to recruit and provide assistance to businesses developing and commercializing innovative technologies for farm-based energy and nutrient management. In administering the initiative, the secretary shall:
(1) Encourage businesses utilizing or providing emerging and existing technology to locate, develop, and grow in Vermont, with a concentration on:
(A) Renewable farm-based energy, such as biodiesel fuel, biomass fuels, methane or methanol; wind, and ethanol; and
(B) Nutrient management, such as mechanical separation, biological processes, and electrical impulse.
(2) Collaborate with the department of economic development, the Vermont center for emerging technologies, state and federal agencies, and private entities to recruit, develop, coordinate, and provide technical and financial assistance to businesses utilizing or providing emerging and existing technology in Vermont.
(3) Explore and utilize technology and financial incentives to advance and stabilize Vermont’s livestock industry and other agricultural sectors with emphasis on achieving:
(A) Increased farm revenues;
(B) Resolution of water, air, and soil quality problems;
(C) Added value uses for crops, livestock, agricultural residue, and byproducts;
(D) More productive use of marginal land; and
(E) Alternative agricultural and rural enterprises.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street