Scott addresses agricultural challenges from the hilltops of Plainfield

Michael Bielawski/TNR

AGRITOURISM MONTH: The governor walked the hillsides of Plainfield on Tuesday to discuss the state of agriculture and to declare August “Agritourism month.”

PLAINFIELD, Vt. — Gov. Phil Scott held his regular media briefing this week at Shat Acres Highland Cattle, where he discussed challenges in the agriculture sector and declared August “Agritourism” Month in Vermont.

“We know farmers are important to Vermont — they form our culture, our brands, and are a critical part of our economy, especially in the rural parts of the state. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to continue supporting the sector, and why last year I created the Future of Vermont Agriculture Commission. Each year, my budget includes millions to support agriculture here in Vermont,” Scott said.

Agritourism is a term for farmers who offer housing rentals for visitors who would like to come stay at the farm, get tours, learn about farming life, and keep overnight stays in rural Vermont.

“This has opened up a new revenue stream for those who make a living off the land, and our Agency of Agriculture has been working closely with the Department of Tourism and with our farms to get the message out,” Scott said.

Sen. Robert Starr, D-Essex-Orleans, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and also a farmer, shared what lawmakers are doing to promote agritourism. He told a story about a farm that invested in four “tiny houses” to use for overnight stays but ran into zoning troubles.

“What a mess they got into to try to get permits from the state, because the land is a conserved land, and we have a 2-acre rule that goes with housing. And we did get a bill passed to allow for these tiny houses for agritourism,” Starr said.

Anson Tebbetts, Vermont’s secretary of Agriculture, spoke on how agritourism can supplement the overall tourism industry. He commented on how there is a new home under construction currently at the farm to support this new initiative.

“This allows visitors to stay overnight, which grows their business. But it also allows visitors to explore other parts of Vermont,” he said. “They may spend time at another farm, maybe shop at a farmstead, maybe eat out, visit a brewery, a winery or distillery — these are all important to rural Vermont.”

Farm owner Janet Steward talked some about Shat Acres Highland Cattle and the history of local cattle.

“There is something very prehistoric about them,” she said. “They have been herbivores for 1,600 years, they have been working with humans for 1,600 years … they love being with people and they are different from other cattle.”

While other parts of the country are experiencing drought, the governor noted this is not the case in Vermont.

“If you recall we had a very wet spring, so we’re not that far behind in terms of the amount of rain that we’ve received this year; so I think we’ve been blessed to have these storms every now and then, and the crops are doing well,” he said.

Nationwide, the farm industry has been facing volatile prices, even before the latest economic recession. According to a July 13 Farm Bureau report, the rising cost of dairy products helps farmers, but that doesn’t mean their margins have improved.

“A quick glance at the dairy market’s high prices and decent demand signals might suggest dairy farmers are in good shape. Unfortunately, analyzing milk prices only by comparing their face value over time is futile to understanding the breadth of challenges facing dairy farmers across the country,” the Farm Bureau report states.

“Persistent high costs across the expense spectrum continue to challenge dairy farm solvency; these costs are further exacerbated by inflationary pressures that have lowered the real value of a higher milk check.”

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

7 thoughts on “Scott addresses agricultural challenges from the hilltops of Plainfield

  1. Well now, Phil, on the farm, in a tie, petting a bull. How cute. You say you want farmers to do well. Well, let the farmer farm. Drop the poo gas penalty. Be more worried about the politicians and wannabe nature gurus flying their private planes and limos to “climate conferences”. OH, and rather than than having a private vehicle and driver, take the shuttle back and forth to work. End of hypocrites ‘R us rant of the day.

  2. I think the people bad mouthing Tebbets know nothing about him. He grew up on, and was familiar with the business end of farming. Like 98% of people born on working Vermont farms in the past 60 years, he found other work to do. He chose TV broadcasting. From that he was invited to serve in State Government, where he has proven to be a profoundly helpful voice for Vermont farms. The Greenies and our remaining farm families need each other. Anson helps people to cooperate. He is very good at what he does.

    • Most of us are very well aware Mr. Tebbets was farm raised.. But you have your “feel good” blinders on….Show me where Tebbets has hit back hard to the Enviro insane groups that control & have so much influence in VT…..they hate non-organic farmers and he let’s it happen. He is incapable of fighting back….be it land & till practices, Enviro’s trying to shut down any needed ferilizers….or the BST insanity, when BST is safe and already in every cow….or the forced-down-your-throat-organic nonsense. You are an EVIL farmer if you aren’t organic in VT and you have a target on your back….. they WILL GET YOU .and they do it thru “Enviro Lawfare Warriors” (Namely the CLF )…be it BST, land tilling, fertilizers, cow farts, land restrictions, lies of lake pollutions (camps do it!) name it. How many lakes are in VT…small to large..with every possible inch of shoreline with CAMPS…many OVER 100 YEARS OLD…and I’ve seen them with 55 gallon barrels cut in half & buried for a septic system….50 feet from the lake water. How many camps in VT straight piped inro the lakes for decades & decades? And now the insane enviros seek to blame any nearby farm for supposed runoff deposits…by measuring decades & decades of bad lake bottom sediments? Much is from the CAMPS, not as much the farms…

      Playing “Can’t We Get Along” or, “Let’s Make Nice Together” with vicious Liberal Enviro’s is a losing game. They will win. When I see Mr. Tebbets fight back on Enviro lies & nonsense, i will respect him more. COW FARTS are causing climate change in rural open air VT? . When will Tebbets stand up & fight back, humm?

  3. It’s always best to let the political elites, who know nothing about farming or anything else, pass laws about farming or anything else, right? They call in the experts then call their handlers and donors who tell them how to vote and to hell with what the experts say. Having legislative hearings in Vermont is similar to a witch trial in Salem. The accused witch who was not really a witch was always found guilty and the testimony ignored, just like in Montpelier. The people of Vermont are not being represented for the benefit of the people; laws are passed, and rules are made for the benefit of the progressive ideology and the out of state money that buys the results. There is so much money to be made if you are a member of the Climate Cult. Politicians attach themselves to the purse strings of the national environmental lobby then flood the state with political favors, so the farmers and the people all suffer under the phrase, “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” with the idiotic nonsense telling the people that they can heal the planet and change the climate to save the world. Pure corrupted BS! I hope the Gov. cleans his shoes after this, look at me campaign photo op.

  4. Jeffrey, to your point about the camps leaking sewerage into the lake (which is common sense that this is going on):: THIS is why not a single idea that Democrats come up with really works- they have no desire to truly diagnose or even acknowledge the actual problem and solve it.
    Instead they take a situation and look at how to make that work for them and that is what we then get. It’s not a true solution, it’s a path to more money being robbed and more government control.

    This is the same thing going on with the complete failure of Science (And the Medical field AND The Educational field)
    They are now creating “Science” that fits their agenda du jour. “Science” is now Ideology driven. This is not real Science.
    Then we are told to trust the science and labeled every crappy thing in the book if we don’t.. when it’s not real and true science in the first place.

    Once you see this, see how they think, play, rule and control, you see it everywhere.
    It is not Democrats that are truly going to solve real issues, what they are going to do instead is use real issue to rob the taxpayer, put more control upon things, they’ll slather lipstick on the pig and then call that a solution..
    AND the RINOs are following this exact same plan.

    We should not be electing “Politicians”, outta staters, Elites, or ANY of the pond scum that has brought us to this place that we are now- which is some of the worse problems we’ve seen in this country in some 70+ years.

    And on solving that septic issue going into the lake.
    We had a similar issue locally and guess how we solved it:
    It was not socially acceptable, or correct behavior in our town to let your raw sewerage go into our lake- particularly if you were an outta stater coming here to do this. This was not okay at all.
    We knew who they were and we did not practice politically correct speech.
    It’s amazing how hanging out at a lake in a town full of people that don’t want you or your sewerage there seems to solve problems.

  5. Here is proof of what I say above, a snippet from the inimitable John McClaughry. Anson Tebbits is a joke….he’s only there for the paycheck & benefits, imo…lihe much the rest of the union State workers.

    “APRIL 29, 2021
    By John McClaughry

    Here’s the latest on the climate change battlefront. Guy Page of the Vermont Daily reported last week that “The Vermont chapter of the Sierra Club is standing with the national Sierra Club petition to the Biden administration to regulate dairy farms of 500 or more cows under the Clean Air Act, due to air pollution and climate concerns. If approved, the regulations would affect about 30 Vermont farms, at least to start with.” (GET THAT? To “start with”)

    “The Sierra Club wants the Biden administration to (among other things) “initiate a rulemaking to implement standards of performance and emission guidelines to reduce methane emissions.”

    Guy reported that “A Vermont Sierra Club spokesman confirmed that its state chapter supports the national organization.”

  6. More VT idiots “on parade”. I’ve little respect for Anson Tebbits…he just needs the union $$ job, salary and benefits. Otherwise, if he REALLY cared? WHY isn’t he fighting the Enviro Liberal Progressives in VT who hate agriculture (if not what they demand, organic)? How often have we seen these enviros saying that COW FARTS create methane & cause climate change. Ban cow farts? How much cow fart methane is this farm in Plainfield guilty of, Anson? Shut them down for climate change. Look at what they did/do to farms regarding tilling of land. Look what they did to try to halt any use of safe fertilzers. How often have we seen farms getting attacked by vicious Liberal Enviros saying they pollute some lake – that is a mile or two distant…that the farms drainage pollutes & kills the lake? YET? The very same lake is crammed , of every square inch of shoreline – with summer camps – with NO REAL SEPTIC SYSTEMS…forever! and much of it seeps DIRECTLY into the lake? The camps are guilty! Of course the Dem Enviros blame the distant farms, because they ONLY want “organic” in VT.. And it is never the camps that may DIRECTLY PIPE sometimes sewage water into the lake, or they drain very close by into lake? Anson Tebbits is a joke. But he’s great for his job justification, meetings & memo’s -and PR opportunities to feather himself. Why isn’t he standing up for VT farms against the vicious enviros?

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