Letter: Support small-scale farmers

Support small-scale farmers

Editor of the Reformer:

Last month, I participated in Rural Vermont's Small Farm Action Day at the Vermont statehouse and had the privilege to share our concerns about Act 64, the new Water Quality law, and the draft Required Agricultural Practices. The focus of that event was "Water Quality: Let's Get it Right," and this was important to me because small farms like ours who already hold our environmental impact in highest regard could be unfairly regulated under this new legislation. Along with 25 other farmers, we delivered a message to lawmakers that supporting small-scale, regenerative agriculture is the answer to Vermont's water quality problems.

At the end of this month, Rural Vermont partners with the Vermont Young Farmers' Coalition to host the second Small Farm Action Day of their three-part series. This time, our attention and our conversations with lawmakers will be focused on "On-farm Slaughter: Preserving a Vermont Tradition". This topic is of particular interest to me because our farm provides our community with a source of high quality meats. Our chickens and turkeys are processed on our farm carrying on a Vermont farm tradition and providing a safe, delicious product for our customers. And we can also slaughter larger animals, like our pigs, at the farm, but this law is due to expire on July 1, 2016. Given that we still have a shortage of state approved slaughterhouse facilities and that these often require making processing dates a year ahead (which means in most cases before the animal is even born), preserving the on-farm slaughter law is critical to the viability of many small farms.

I hope you'll join Rural Vermont and small farmers from all over the state at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier on March 30th. You can find more information about Small Farm Action Days and RSVP at www.ruralvermont.org or by calling 802-223-7222.

Katie Bowen, Meadowdale Farm, Putney, March 21


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