Rural Vermont Releases Hemp Survey Results

In August Rural Vermont sent a survey to all of Vermont’s registered hemp producers and all the folks in the Rural Vermont database who have identified themselves as interested in hemp. The purpose of the survey was to gather information to help inform Rural Vermont’s strategy for engaging in the upcoming public rule-making process. We expect to have a timeline for the rule-making process by the beginning of 2019. Some highlights from the Hemp Survey:

-        76% of the survey respondents identified themselves as currently growing hemp and another 11% indicated they plan to grow soon

-        More than half are new to growing hemp and most are small-scale producers growing on an acre or less.

-        Over 80% are growing hemp primarily for CBD production with food products (33%) and seed (30%) being the next highest uses

-        Biggest barriers were identified as: Access to certified seed; access to information and technical assistance; and development of processing infrastructure

-        Biggest concerns for the upcoming rulemaking process are: creating a level and fair regulatory environment before the 2019 growing season and establishing an independent third-party testing and quality control program

Please read our Summary Report on the results of the Hemp Survey and contact us with any questions, ideas, or comments you may have.

Required Agricultural practices (RAPs) Development Committee

In early 2017 Rural Vermont was invited to participate with other farming organizations (NOFA, Vermont Farm Bureau, Champlain Valley Farmers' Coalition, and others) to meet at somewhat regular intervals to offer our opinions on how exemptions to aspects of the RAPs are determined and approached.  This group met consistently for much of 2017, and in 2018 our meetings have been less frequent.  

Human Rights Council

In early 2017 Rural Vermont applied to join the Vermont Human Rights Council.  This is a body of organizations representing different communities and different issues, which come together to educate one another on the needs of our particular communities and the issues affecting them; to create opportunities to work together on issues, campaigns, projects; and to grow the understanding we have of, and work we do in relationship to, the intersections of social justice, economic justice, racial justice, ecological justice, and human rights and dignity.  Organizations in the Human Rights Council include: the VT Workers Center, Justice for All, Rights and Democracy, Green Mtn. Self Advocates, Vermont Center for Independent Living, the VT Peace and Justice Center, Migrant Justice, local Unions, the VT Pride Center, 350 VT, Vermont Interfaith Action, and more.

Farm to Plate Network participation

Rural Vermont participates in the Farm to Plate Network, primarily via participating in working groups such as the Farmland Access and Stewardship Working Group, and the Food Access working group.  

Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition

Rural Vermont is one of the original members of the VT Healthy Soils Coalition - an organization founded in early 2017. This coalition - still in its infancy - can be joined by any individual or organization. The coalition currently exists as listserve (through which a diversity of conversations related to soil health practices, policies, and advocacy occur), we convene in person meetings, and have started to offer workshops / discussions.

Working with impacted groups of stakeholders

Rural Vermont seeks to work with impacted stakeholders from the working lands and greater food systems communities.  This work largely depends on particular needs and issues arising in affected communities. For example, Rural Vermont is currently working to help farmers who integrate poultry into their composting operations (offering chickens access to compost as part of their food regime) advocate for themselves and organize in relationship to a new Rule determined by the Agency of Natural Resources and Agency of Agriculture which presents significant barriers to this practice.  Historically, we have worked with impacted stakeholders to develop legislation related to Raw Milk, On-Farm Slaughter, GMOs, and more.