REGION – This month the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets is taking a moment to proclaim its love for Vermont’s farmers.
“The Vermont we know and love simply would not exist without the hardworking women and men who dedicate their lives to agriculture. Farmers provide food, create jobs, keep our landscape open, and support our local communities. Farmers deserve our adoration!” says Vermont’s Ag Secretary, Anson Tebbetts.
Tebbetts thinks Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion for Vermonters to profess their fond feelings for farmers. “There are so many reasons to love Vermont agriculture, it’s nearly impossible to count the ways,” Tebbetts added.
Ten reasons to love Vermont farmers:
1. There are over 7,300 farms in Vermont, and each is unique.
2. Vermont is known for its dairy and maple industries, but our agriculture runs the gambit. Vermont farmers are raising and growing all the things you might expect on a farm, like chickens, hogs, pumpkins, and corn, and some unique things you might not – like saffron, emu, rabbits, and crickets.
3. Maple syrup is our signature product, and we make more of it than any other state in the country – a whopping 47 percent of the country’s syrup is made right here in Vermont.
4. Vermont is the leading agricultural state in New England, with more agricultural sales than any state in the region. Our Ag economy is greater than Rhode Island’s, New Hampshire’s, and Massachusetts, combined.
5. We have more farmers’ markets per capita than any other state.
6. 94 percent of our schools serve local foods, grown close to home by Vermont farmers. That’s 80,000 students who “eat local” in their cafeterias.
7. For a chilly state, we have a robust and growing wine industry. Marquette, Frontenac, and La Crescent grapes grow well in Vermont, and we have some very talented vintners making outstanding local wines.
8. Vermont dairy farmers produce enough milk annually to fill 16,000 swimming pools – 321 million gallons. More than 67 percent of New England’s milk is made right here in Vermont.
9. Vermont’s Agriculture economy is growing – in the past ten years, sales of agricultural products in Vermont have increased by 64 percent.
10. Collectively, Vermont farms encompass more than 1.25 million acres. Our farmers care for the land by implementing conservation practices, and keep our landscape open, green, and beautiful. Without farms, Vermont would look very different!
“Thank you, Vermont farmers, for all you do!” Tebbetts adds.