On-Farm Composting in Rutland Area

Hi all- See the message below from Alex- he’s helping the Rutland Solid Waste District research composting options in our area and is looking to talk to farmers who are potentially interested in getting involved!



My name is Alex Utevsky and I am currently doing some technical assistance work for the Rutland County Solid Waste Management District. One of the things they have asked for help with is identifying a farm in the Rutland area who might be interested in receiving food scraps (“Source-Separated-Organics” or SSO) on their farm.
This could be a vegetable farmer who wants to import more nutrients onto their farm, or a livestock farmer who has abundant composting feedstocks and could therefore easily compost food scraps.   Another possibility that seems to be an increasing trend is for egg producers to receive food scraps as a feed supplement or alternative feed source. In fact, while working with Highfields Center for Composting I recently had the opportunity to assist Wheaton Squier in Tinmouth to launch a food-scrap collection/ chicken-feeding operation.
I think any of these types of operations could work; the most important factor being a farm that is has the capacity and desire to incorporate an integrated enterprise into their current operations and who sees the multiple values of on-farm composting of SSO.
Please contact me with any questions or interest.
Alex Utevsky
Compost Technical Services


Innovative Land Financing Mechanisms – Workshop 11/13

Innovative Land Financing Mechanisms: new and novel approaches that you might consider

November 13, 2014 from 6:30 – 8:00pm at the RAFFL Office (67 Merchants Row 3rd floor, Rutland)

Presenter: Mike Ghia from Land for Good

This workshop is for farm seekers who want to explore less traditional ways to finance land acquisition. We’ll share findings about emerging farmland investor models, and also discussing crowd-funding examples, land contracts and the new Land Contract Guarantee Program, land cooperatives, and community land trust among other methods. We will look at the positives, negatives, and limitations of these models while also seeking input from the farmers present about their experiences, questions, and concerns about these approaches

FSMA Listening Session – November 17th

Food safety regulations will affect farmers and food processors throughout the country, and NOFA Vermont has been one of many voices calling for these regulations to be amended to be appropriate for organic and small-scale farms. We hope that concerned farmers, processors, and consumers will continue to make their voices heard, as well. This announcement comes from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM), in conjunction with the Northeast Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NEASDA), will host an open Listening Session on November 17th, 2014, to offer farmers and food processors an opportunity to provide comment on new supplemental rules proposed by the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Attendees will have an opportunity to pose questions to and seek clarification from a panel of subject matter experts from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that will be present at the meeting. The listening session will take place from 9:00am – 1:00pm in the Chase Center located at the Vermont Law School in South Royalton, VT. While oriented towards regional farmers and food processors specifically, this listening session is open to all interested parties from across the northeast.

FSMA, the most sweeping reform of our nation’s food safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. FSMA aims to ensure the safety of the U.S. food supply by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. On September 29th, 2014, the FDA released proposed supplemental rules to four of the seven existing rules, largely the result of an unprecedented level of comments and valuable input received from farmers and others directly affected by these regulations.

The November 17th, 2014, the Vermont-NEASDA hosted listening session will focus on the following three supplemental rules:

1. The Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce rule proposes enforceable safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce on farms. Changes include:

  • More flexible criteria for determining the safety of agricultural water for certain uses and a tiered approach to water testing.
  • A commitment to conduct extensive research on the safe use of raw manure in growing areas and complete a risk assessment. Pending those actions, FDA is deferring its decision on an appropriate time interval between the application of raw manure, the harvesting of a crop, and removing the nine-month interval originally proposed.
  • The FDA proposes eliminating the 45-day minimum application interval for composted manure that meets proposed microbial standards and application requirements.

2.  The Current Good Manufacturing Practices and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food rule would require makers of food to be sold in the United States, whether produced at a foreign- or domestic-based facility, to develop a formal plan for preventing food products from causing food borne illness.

3.  Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals would require facilities producing animal food (pet food, animal feed, and raw materials) to have written plans that identify hazards and specify steps to prevent those hazards. Changes include:

  • Requirements that human and animal food facilities, when appropriate, test products and the food facility’s environment, as well as implement certain supplier controls.

A full copy of the proposed supplemental rules is available for viewing through the following links:

All growers, manufacturers, and anyone interested in fresh produce safety and manufacturing of human and animal food are encouraged to comment on the supplemental proposed rules. The comment period will remain open for 75 days until December 15th, 2014. There are two ways to officially submit comments to FDA:

  1. Comment electronically at:
    1. Produce:https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/09/29/2014-22447/standards-for-the-growing-harvesting-packing-and-holding-of-produce-for-human-consumption
    2. Human Food:https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/09/29/2014-22446/current-good-manufacturing-practice-and-hazard-analysis-and-risk-based-preventive-controls-for-human
    3. Animal Feed:https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/09/29/2014-22445/current-good-manufacturing-practice-and-hazard-analysis-and-risk-based-preventive-controls-for-food

Whole Farm Planning for Beginning Women Farmers – Class Registration Now Open!

For women farmers with two to 10 years in business.

Where: Washington County, VT
Dates: Tuesdays, Jan. 13, 27, Feb. 3, 10, March 3, 24, April 7, 21, May 5, 19, 2015 in Washington, County, VT. (Snow date: March 10.)
Time: 9:30 am-4 pm
Application Deadline: Nov. 13, 2014
Fees: $150-$500

Online Application

For more information: Heidi Krantz.

Join other farming women for support and camaraderie learning about whole farm planning. Beginning women farmers (those with 2-10 years running a farming business) in Vermont can learn more about whole farm planning in a program developed specifically for women.

Topics for this ten session course include: Creating a Values-based Farm Mission; Whole Farm Decision Analysis Process; Increasing Farm Profitability (Gross Profit Analysis; Enterprise Analysis), Business Planning, Marketing, Soil Fertility, Time Management, Land and Infrastructure Planning, Leadership and Communication Skills, and Integrating Livestock on the Farm. Participants also work with a mentor throughout the course period. Limited to 15 participants chosen through an application process.

Additional Notice: We are recruiting one experienced farmer (with 10 or more years of farm management experience) to serve as a mentor for Whole Farm Planning course participants. If you or someone you know is interested in serving as a mentor, please fill out amentor application or contact Heidi Krantz for more information.

Fat Toad Farm Seeking Goat Herd Manager

Fat Toad Farm of Brookfield Vermont, a leading producer and purveyor of artisanal, farmstead cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce), seeks to hire a full-time Herd Manager for its milking herd of 70 Alpine and Alpine/Saanen cross goats. This position is full-time yearround starting early 2015. This position requires knowledge of and experience with goat nutrition and health, milk production and sanitation, breeding and kidding, parasite and pasture management, record keeping and other duties. Herd manager will report to owner/farm manager.

For more information about Fat Toad Farm, visit our website www.fattoadfarm.com. To request more information contact Calley at calley@fattoadfarm.com

Accepting applications now until position is filled.

Farmer Survey ~ Topics of Interest

Are you a farmer or an aspiring farmer in the Rutland or Northshire region?  If so, please complete the following 5 minute survey.  It is designed to identify topics that are currently of interest to folks in our region so that I can tailor upcoming events, such as workshops and farmer-to-farmer discussions, to best meet your needs.  In addition, I’m hoping you will provide me with ideas and feedback about the ways RAFFL can support you and our greater agricultural community.  Thanks in advance for your time and hope to see you soon!  ~Jen


Open Barn Event @ Larson Farm!

Join Rich and Cynthia Larson for an Open Barn Event on Sunday, October 19 from 1-4 pm.

See the operation in action while enjoying good music and fresh milk & cookies!!

This event is co-sponsored by Rural Vermont.   Larson Farm is located at: 69 South St in Wells.