Locally Grown: Vermont's Farming Future
A sustainable, local agricultural economy is a key part of Peter's vision for Vermont. As oil prices rise and the effects of climate change become more apparent, eating local foods will become an economic necessity, not just an upper-income fad. This is as an opportunity to grow our economy, create jobs, and nurture our core values. Successfully promoting a locally based farm economy will make Vermont-grown foods more affordable and practical for all. In addition, Vermont is perfectly situated to capitalize on the large markets that are within our reach -- New York, Boston and Montreal. Innovative Vermonters are already taking advantage of our proximity to these population centers, and are making a living from their value-added agricultural exports.
Peter has supported the development of a sustainable agricultural system by working with members of the legislature to establish the Farm to Plate program, increase the number and availability of slaughterhouses in Vermont, and allow small farmers raising less than 1,000 chickens to sell to consumers.
Peter has fought hard for working farms by repeatedly blocking Governor Douglas' attempts to cut funding for land conservation, by updating the Current Use program, and by securing much-needed emergency funds for our struggling dairy farmers.
The Future of Farming in Vermont
As Governor, Peter would direct state agencies to develop a statewide food policy to identify our current farmers, produce, available agricultural land, and infrastructure so we can determine what barriers exist and begin to break them down. He would establish regional food centers where people can preserve and process their food and become better educated on how to feed themselves and their communities.
As Governor, Peter would provide better support to our local farmers. The future of Vermont's agriculture lies both in traditional dairy and in diversified farming. Peter would continue to work with our federal delegation to establish an over-order milk premium that would help ensure our dairy farmers are getting paid what they deserve for their milk. He would also expand programs that help traditional farmers transition to diversified farming, including increasing farmer technical training for processing and expanding our network of much-needed processing and distribution facilities.