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ACT SUMMARY 2007-2008


ACT NO. 38


Agriculture; long-term goals, policies, and actions

This act creates new programs and modifies old programs in order to strengthen Vermont agriculture and to develop new sectors within the agriculture industry. It makes a number of statutory changes and establishes a number of studies. The majority of the studies are due to be reported on November 1, 2007 in order to have the information and prepare legislation prior to January, 2008.

Sections 1-3 states legislative goals, findings, and intent.

Section 4 establishes a study within the agency of agriculture, food and markets, the agency of administration, and the department of buildings and general services to develop a system of local food and dairy purchasing within state government and government-sponsored entities.

Section 5 establishes a study of how to increase in-state and on-farm dairy processing facilities.

Section 6 directs the agency of agriculture, food and markets to study ways to stabilize dairy prices.

Sections 7-13 cover the poultry industry. These sections relax inspection regulations on small poultry producers and establish regulations on restaurants that purchase uninspected poultry. These sections also authorize a mobile poultry processing unit. Finally, a study is established to consider the effectiveness of the new regulations and the mobile units.

Section 14 grants the agency of agriculture, food and markets authority to enforce violations of accepted agriculture practices.

Section 15 clarifies statutory language dealing with agriculture on land permitted under Act 250. This section provides that permitted land may be put to agricultural use if the land is preserved as prime agricultural soils or if an agricultural use is not prohibited by the pre-existing permit.

Section 16 creates a program to lower farm workers’ compensation rates by implementing a farm safety program.

Section 17 establishes a study of state purchasing of on-farm renewable energy to support the state’s electrical usage.

Section 18 establishes a study of the agency of agriculture’s authorizing statutes in order to increase the effectiveness of the agency and other entities with agriculture-related missions.

Section 19 establishes a wine and grape council to promote the wine and grape industry in Vermont.

Section 20 directs the agency of agriculture, food and markets and the department of labor to work with the meat processing industry to increase training opportunities.

Section 21 directs the department of labor to work with the agency of agriculture, food and markets generally to help maintain a strong agricultural workforce.

Sections 22 and 23 mandate that milk checks provided to dairy farmers be clear and understandable and that the agency of agriculture, food and markets work to develop a model milk check for voluntary use by milk purchasers.

Section 24 establishes a study of the decline in honey bee populations.

Effective Date: Upon passage

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont