Title 6: Agriculture
Chapter 1: GENERAL POWERS; SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND MARKETS
6 V.S.A. § 1. General powers of agency; secretary of agriculture, food and markets
§ 1. General powers of agency; secretary of agriculture, food and markets
(a) The agency of agriculture, food and markets shall be administered by a secretary of agriculture, food and markets. The secretary shall supervise and be responsible for the execution and enforcement of all laws relating to agriculture and standards of weight and measure. The secretary may:
(1) delegate any authority, power or duty as necessary for the proper execution of the laws;
(2) conduct examinations and pass upon the qualifications of applicants for licenses;
(3) conduct routine inspections and investigate suspected violations of any law administered by the secretary;
(4) conduct hearings;
(5) issue subpoenas and administer oaths in connection with an authorized investigation or hearing;
(6) enter into contracts on behalf of the agency;
(7) seek and obtain temporary or permanent injunctions to restrain a violation of any law administered by the secretary, whenever there are reasonable grounds to believe that a law has been or will be violated;
(8) institute appropriate proceedings in the name of the agency to enforce any law administered by the secretary;
(9) apply for and accept grants of money or other gifts on behalf of the agency, subject to 32 V.S.A. § 5;
(10) adopt and enforce rules to implement the laws administered by the secretary;
(11) accept an assurance of discontinuance in lieu of instituting an action or proceeding for violation of a law administered by the secretary;
(12) exercise any other power or authority granted by common law or statute;
(13) notwithstanding any law to the contrary in this title or Title 9 or 20, issue all licenses, permits, registrations, or certificates under a program administered by the secretary for a term of up to three years; renew and issue such licenses, permits, registrations, and certificates on any calendar cycle; collect any annual fee set by law for such multiyear licensure, permit, registration, or certificate on a pro-rated basis which shall not exceed 150 percent of the annual fee for an 18-month cycle, 200 percent of the annual fee for a two-year cycle, or 300 percent of the annual fee for a three-year cycle; and conduct inspections at regulated premises at least once every three years when inspection is required by law. The authority to mandate licenses, permits, registrations, or certificates for more than one year shall not extend to any program administered by the secretary where the annual fee is more than $125.00;
(14) require any person or entity regulated by the secretary under this title or Title 9 or 20 to file an affidavit under oath or affirmation that the person or entity or their regulated premises is in compliance with an assurance of discontinuance or other order or the terms and conditions of a license, permit, registration, certificate, or approval issued by or under the statutory authority of the secretary or rules adopted under such statutory authority. The secretary's request for an affidavit of compliance under this subdivision may be delivered by hand or by certified mail. Failure to file such affidavit when requested or the material misrepresentation of a fact in the affidavit shall constitute a violation of the underlying regulatory program and grounds for revocation or assessment of administrative penalties or both under section 15 of this title.
(b) The following entities shall exist and operate within the agency of agriculture, food and markets under the general supervision of the secretary:
(1) The Vermont milk commission.
(2) The state dairy council.
(3) The Vermont dairy industry council.
(c) The secretary shall provide data and funding recommendations to the Vermont climate change oversight committee with regard to:
(1) Funding and implementing state conservation programs in order to increase carbon sequestration.
(2) Providing cost-share assistance for farmers to purchase manure injection equipment to retrofit existing manure spreaders or purchase new equipment.
(3) Providing cost-share assistance for farms to develop and implement nutrient management plans for smaller dairy farms and continuing to provide annual assistance so that existing plans on medium-sized farms continue to be implemented.
(4) Providing cost-share assistance under the farm agronomic practices program so that farms implement cover crops and other soil erosion and land cover practices.
(5) Other ways to create incentives for carbon sequestration on farm and forest land, Vermont's "green bank."
(d) The secretary shall continue the agency's methane capture program and shall collaborate with the Vermont climate change oversight committee with regard to the availability of additional funds for these purposes. The goal of the methane digester portion of the program shall be to digest and use 15 percent of the state's dairy cattle manure by 2012, and 50 percent by 2028. The goal of a second aspect of this emissions reduction program shall be to increase the percentage of poultry and nondairy livestock manure composted to 25 percent by 2012, and 50 percent by 2028. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 10, eff. March 1, 1961; 1967, No. 303 (Adj. Sess.), § 16(b); 1987, No. 277 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1989, No. 256 (Adj. Sess.), § 10(a), eff. Jan. 1, 1991; 1991, No. 17, § 8(a), eff. April 4, 1991; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2007, No. 209 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2009, No. 146 (Adj. Sess.), § F7.)