Current Issues

Agricultural Hemp

Hemp farming is an agricultural issue also related to health, environment, and economic development. Hemp is a lucrative agricultural crop with many high quality food, fiber, and fuel products made from it. Rural Vermont is working with our national partner Vote Hemp to remove the federal prohibition against hemp cultivation. Rural Vermont is excited that Vermont farmers have registered to grow hemp under Vermont’s new hemp law. Find out what Rural Vermont is doing to advance the possibility of farmers to grow hemp in Vermont, and how you can help.

Agricultural Water Quality

Signed into law on June 16th, 2015 by Governor Shumlin, H.35, Vermont’s new Water Quality legislation, is focused on reducing the ever-increasing amount of pollution in Vermont’s lakes, streams, and rivers. While the legislation covers a variety of topics, the focus of this page is how the requirements in the new law are likely to affect the practices and economics of small-scale farmers in Vermont, including the new Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs).

Farm Fresh (On-Farm Slaughtered) Meat

Many farms eat meat from animals they have raised and slaughtered on their land. However, they are not allowed to sell this meat to their neighbors. In 2013, Rural Vermont was successful in passing legislation that allows for the sale of limited amounts of on-farm slaughtered meat, and this legislation was expanded in 2016.  Find out what Rural Vermont is doing to help farmers slaughter animals on their farm for direct sale to customers.

Farm Fresh (Raw) Milk

Since 2009, Rural Vermont has been successful in advocating for the expansion of farmers’ ability to sell raw milk. Most importantly, at a time when national interests were trying to ban sales of raw milk, the Vermont Legislature protected farmers’ rights to sell and consumer’s ability to buy raw milk. Upon surveying and meeting with farmers throughout Vermont, Rural Vermont has identified many issues and concerns that are impacting Vermont raw milk producers. Find out about what Rural Vermont is doing to promote the ability of farmers and consumers to sell and buy farm fresh (raw, unpasteurized) milk.

Farm Fresh Poultry

In the 2017 legislative session an amendment to the original “chicken bill” was passed which significantly expanded opportunities for farmers to produce, process and sell poultry from the farm without inspection. You can learn more about the new law and Rural Vermont’s work on Farm Fresh Poultry here.

VT Right to Know GMO

Rural Vermont is a lead organizer in the Vermont Right to Know GMOs labeling Coalition, along with Cedar Circle Farm and Education Center, the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA-VT), and the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG). In 2013, the Coalition successfully advocated for the passage of the Vermont Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act in the Vermont House of Representatives, making Vermont the first legislative body in the country to pass GMO labeling legislation. Read more about the history of Rural Vermont’s GMO campaign, including our past work on the Farmer Protection Act, and how you can get involved in the current campaign.


Recent & Past Issues


Composting is an age-old practice vital to the nutrient management and soil health of farms.  Rural Vermont has been working with farmers to ensure that their right to on-farm composting is protected, and that the sale of compost is not taxed, just as sales other fertilizers are not taxed. Find out what Rural Vermont is doing to protect farmers’ ability to continue composting, and how you can help.

Current Use

At the heart of Rural Vermont’s history is Current Use, or Use Value Appraisal. Rural Vermont was founded thirty years ago to address the issue of fair taxation of agricultural land. Periodically, there are attempts to “reform” current use to protect against improper utilization of the program, or driven by the need to generate revenue for the state.  Find out what Rural Vermont is doing protect current use, and how you can help.

Farmers’ Market Insurance

Read more about why some markets have required mandatory insurance for vendors at Farmers’ Markets, and why, while supporting vendors who wish to find insurance, Rural Vermont is opposed to mandatory insurance.

Farm to Plate

Read more about the Farm to Plate initiative.


Read about the National Animal Identification System, and what Rural Vermont did to help Vermont farmers avoid the negative effects of its proposed implementation.

Vermonters Feeding Vermonters

Read about the enduring and important idea that producers and consumers have the right to control their own market for local food transactions.

Working Farm Dogs

Read more about why and how working farm dogs, long used on farms to guard against predators, or assist with herding, were becoming the unfortunate target of town regulations. Find out what Rural Vermont did to protect farmers’ ability to keep these vital animals.