H2A Workers and COVID-Related Health Care Needs

July 26, 2020

Good morning: I’m forwarding this request on from a colleague at UVM Extension. If you use H2A workers on your farm, it is important that you weigh in so that resources may be made available (or developed, if needed) to assist you and your workers with handling issues related to COVID-19. -TB

Does your farm have guest workers (H2A)? Would you or your employees benefit from assistance navigating health care services or COVID related logistics? Is there a need for information, masks or other resources? If so, we want to hear from you and your employees. UVM Extension is assessing health related needs among H2A workers in order to offer support services. Please reply directly to Naomi Wolcott-MacCausland: nwolcott@uvm.edu or 802-503-2078.

VTFGA Fall Marketing

August 5, 2020

Sharing this information from VTFGA President Eric Boire on the fall apple marketing campaign. -TB

From: Eric Boire

Greetings Growers,

As we gear up for our fall marketing campaigns this year I wanted to give you all a quick update on where we stand and what’s going to be different.

  1. The Vermont Department of Tourism is going to run an ad in SevenDays on 9/16 promoting Vermont apples and the fall picking season.  What they need for this ad and potentially some thereafter is some photos from you.  Specifically, photos of you with a mask on in or around your orchard.  There is a pretty quick turnaround on submitting our photos we only have until 8/11 to submit. So please consider getting a photo back to me, dust off the grandparents or kids and get them out in the orchard. They are the most photogenic anyway. Hopefully this is the start of a new relationship the Department of Tourism and getting some fresh fall marketing campaigns going again.
  1. The Vermont Department of Health is going to be participating in the YOUfirst apple program again this year. Just to refresh everyone, VDH purchases around 60-80 certificates from the VTFGA to give out to their qualifying members.  The certificate is good for a half bushel of apples and all you have to do is collect the certificate and turn them back in to me at the end of the season (or just give me the count). They can be redeemed with the VTFGA for up to 35.00 dollars or whatever you charge for a half bushel.  Due to covid, this year VDH is asking for a list of growers who will have pre-packaged half bushels at their orchard.  They want their members to have that option if they are not comfortable with going out and picking this season.  If any of you are interested in learning more about the YOUfirst program in general you should check out the Department of Health’s website under Health Promotion and Chronic Diseases.

Give me a call or email with any questions. Preferably with a photo attached.

Eric Boire

President, VTFGA


For more information on Nutrien’s email policy or to unsubscribe, click here: https://www.nutrien.com/important-notice
Pour plus de renseignements sur la politique de courrier électronique de Nutrien ou pour vous désabonner, cliquez ici: https://www.nutrien.com/avis-important

VCAAP Relief Payments for Agriculture and Working Lands Businesses—Coming Soon!

August 14, 2020

Forwarding from the VT Agency of Ag, this could be a great opportunity to recoup some COVID-related expenses for your farm business.

Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program (VCAAP) Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance Application

$8.5 Million in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funding will soon be available to a wide variety of agricultural, food, and forestry businesses and organizations through the Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program (VCAAP) Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance Application.

General Eligibility Criteria

(1) Farmers, commercial processors, slaughterhouses, farmers’ markets, food businesses, forest products businesses, dairy producers or processors, and agriculture producer associations are eligible.

(2) Your business entity must have gross annual income of at least $10,000 to apply.

(3) Your business must have verifiable losses and/or expenses since March 1, 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

How To Apply

The Agriculture and Working Lands application will launch the week of August 17, 2020. Please note that state offices are closed on Monday, August 17 for Bennington Battle Day. Check our website and subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when the application is open.

The deadline to apply is October 1, 2020. However, keep in mind that grants will be awarded on a first-come, first served basis, so the application may close prior to October 1 if all funds are expended.

Before applying, applicants should complete a W-9 form and gather documentation of losses and costs incurred since March 1, 2020 that are related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.


Attend a webinar to learn more about the VCAAP Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance Application. A webinar for service providers and partners will be held on August 19. Webinars for applicants will be held on August 21, 24 and 25. Webinars will be recorded and posted to our website.

Contact Us

(802) 828-2430 select #9

New England Apple Crop Insurance Listening Session Notice

June 24, 2020

Forwarding from George Hamilton:




It is VERY important for those of you having Apple Crop Insurance Policies to participate.

Apple marketing is very different here in New England compared to rest of the major apple producing area in the USA.

This looks to be the last chance for orchardists from New England to voice other needs in an apple crop insurance policy that represents the New England  region.

Please mark this session’s date on your calendars (ITS TOMORROW – JUNE 25) and participate, especially if you have apple crop insurance.

Take Care, Keep Safe and Stay Health – Everyone!


PPE Survey

July 8th, 2020

From: Covid-19 On Behalf Of Jake Claro
Sent: Wednesday, July 8, 2020 9:32 AM
To: COVID-19@vtfoodatlas.com
Subject: [Covid-19] PPE Survey

Hi all,

Hope everyone is well. Please share the link below regarding a survey to help inform ongoing efforts to assist Vermont employers in securing the masks/face coverings and other PPE they want and need. The survey is the effort of Vermont’s Regional Development Corporations, Associated Industries of Vermont, the Lake Champlain Chamber, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, the Vermont Retail & Grocers Association, the Vermont Vehicle & Automotive Distributors Association, and other business organizations:


Input Needed for a New Vision of Farming and Food in Vermont

June 19, 2020

Please consider taking this survey to provide input on future policy direction for Vermont farm and food programs. I have worked with Vermont Farm to Plate quite a bit over the years, and their efforts directly affect the programs available to farmers.

From: Paul Costello
Sent: Friday, June 19, 2020 2:34 PM
To: Terence Bradshaw
Subject: Input Needed for a New Vision of Farming and Food in Vermont

  Help Shape Farm and Food Development in Vermont Take the survey for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate   Here’s a message from the VT Sustainable Jobs Fund and Farm to Plate Network:  

Hello Terence,

  The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund and Farm to Plate Network are in the process of updating the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan – Vermont’s legislatively enabled statewide food system plan. Your voice matters – we need your input to develop a new vision for farming and food, and prioritize how we support and develop food and agriculture in the next decade! By answering the survey questions you’ll be adding your voice to the plan and helping to shape the next 10 years of farm and food development in Vermont.   Your voice is valuable. Share your input on the future of farming and food in Vermont at https://cutt.ly/F2P-Public-Input. Answering the questions will take about 15-20 minutes. Completed surveys will be entered into a drawing to win a $50 gift certificate to a farmer’s market of the winner’s choice.   We also encourage food and farming organizations in Vermont to share this survey and opportunity with their members to help get the word out to capture as many voices as possible.   Thank you for your time and contributions to this important effort!    

ABOUT FARM TO PLATE: Farm to Plate is Vermont’s statewide food system plan implemented by 350+ member organizations of the Farm to Plate Network to meet the goals of legislation passed in 2009 calling for increased economic development and jobs in the farm and food sector and improved access to healthy local food for all Vermonters. Vermont’s farm to plate food system plan is the most comprehensive in the country and the only state that has complete government engagement. In 2019, Vermont Farm to Plate was reauthorized beyond 2020. The program is managed by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, a nonprofit organization based in Montpelier, Vermont. www.VTFarmtoPlate.com

Apple Crop Insurance Listening Sessions

June 18, 2020

From: Jake Jacobs
Sent: Thursday, June 18, 2020 11:15 AM
Subject: Apple crop insurance listening sessions

Please share with any interested parties.

Sorry for such short notice on these listening sessions, but I just received the announcements yesterday while I was out of the office.  Just FYI, in the last series of apple crop insurance listening meetings that were set up across the country in 2018, the New England meeting that was held in New Hampshire had the greatest number of apple growers in attendance.

Details on how to join the meetings and call-in numbers are in the attachments.

Thursday, June 18 – Pennsylvania Apple Growers – 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. EST

Thursday, June 25 – New England Apple Growers – 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. EST

Thursday, July 9 – New York Apple Growers – 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. EST

Webinar on Fungicide Resistance by Dr. Michelle Moyer, Extension Viticulturist, Washington State University, on June 24

June 22, 2020

Inviting everyone to this webinar on fungicide resistance management. While it’s tailored for grapes, this is just as important for apple growers. No VT pesticide recertification credits are available for this.

From: Wine Grape Newsletter On Behalf Of psuwineandgrapes@psu.edu
Sent: Monday, June 22, 2020 11:07 AM
Subject: [WINEGRAPE-L] Join us for a live webinar on Fungicide Resistance by Dr. Michelle Moyer, Extension Viticulturist, Washington State University, on June 24

Please join us for the Fungicide Resistance and the Acronyms live webinar.

To be covered: In this live webinar, Dr. Moyer will cover the acronyms FRAME, FRAC, and Rotating MOAs, how fungicides are categorized, how those categories function, and how to best use those fungicides based on how they work. Fungicides, of all forms, are important tools in the management of grape diseases. But like all tools, they need to be used as intended and properly maintained. She will discuss how these tools become broken and how to go about repairing them if, or when, they break.

Speaker: Dr. Michelle Moyer, Associate Professor and Extension Viticulturist, Washington State University.

When: June 24, 2020 (3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET)

To register: https://bit.ly/36Hk2ra

Credit Information: 2 category pesticide credits (PC, 02, 18) will be offered to PA licensed applicators upon completion of this webinar.

Foliar Nutrient Analysis, Pest Management, and COVID-Related Items

July 29, 2020

As the calendar flips to August, it’s time to wrap up field activities in preparation for harvest in Vermont orchards.

Foliar nutrient analysis – It is the time in the growing season to collect leaf samples for analysis. Samples are usually collected between July 15 – Aug. 15. The UVM Agriculture and Environmental Testing Lab can provide analysis, but at this time their output does not generate fertility recommendations. The following are potential options of labs for analysis. It is recommended that you contact the lab for instructions and costs before samples are sent. Plus, it is important to confirm that they will send recommendations along with the analysis.

(1) University of Maine Analytical Lab: http://anlab.umesci.maine.edu/
(2) University of Massachusetts Soil and Tissue Testing Lab: https://ag.umass.edu/services/soil-plant-nutrient-testing-laboratory
(3) Cornell Nutrient Analysis Lab: http://cnal.cals.cornell.edu/

Wrapping up spraying – Primary insects of concern are apple maggot and codling moth. Both should be managed in high-pressure orchards. AM can often be managed with a single insecticide application based on monitoring with red sticky traps. The threshold is one fly per unbaited trap, or five flies per trap if apple volatile baits are used. Codling moth are entering their second flight in many orchards, so management is advised if this pest is a problem for you. Insecticide options are listed in the New England Tree Fruit Management Guide. Dr. Arthur Agnello discusses these summer insect pests in more detail in the July 7, 2014 issue of Scaffolds .

Summer diseases – It is important to maintain fungicide coverage to protect against sooty blotch, fly speck, and summer fruit rots. Materials should be applied after every 200 accumulated hours of leaf wetness or 2 inches of rainfall, whichever occurs first. Except on later-harvested cultivars, a fungicide application made by mid-month should provide good control through harvest. For retail orchards, fungicide sprays are likely wrapped up by now.

Remember to watch pre-harvest intervals on all products at this time of year.

COVID concerns- I think that many orchards will benefit from others’ wisdom as we prepare to reopen our farms for the season. Every farm must comply with State of Vermont guidances for general business, plus farm markets and/or pick-your own operations. Guidance can be found at: https://agriculture.vermont.gov/covid-19-information/covid-19-sector-guidance-news. I encourage farmers to visit other operations that are now open and see what’s working- parking, stand layout, customer education, etc. Consider this a way to make efficiency improvements in your retail farm operation, if anything.
Specific guidance for agricultural workers, which relates to both domestic, and H2A labor, as well as to workers that both live on and off the farm, must also be followed. Presently the CDC guidelines are the standard that Vermont farms are expected to follow: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-agricultural-workers.html. Those guidelines include many of the steps that we are already getting quite used to (bullet points taken from CDC website):

  1. Management in the agriculture industry should conduct work site assessmentsexternal icon to identify coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) risks and infection prevention strategies to protect workers.
  2. Work site guidance for COVID-19 prevention and control should be taken into consideration in employer-furnished shared worker housing, transportation vehicles and work settings.
  3. Prevention practices should follow the hierarchy of controls, which includes using source control and a combination of engineering controls, administrative controls (especially proper sanitation, cleaning, and disinfection), and personal protective equipment.
  4. Grouping workers together into cohorts may reduce the spread of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace by minimizing the number of different individuals who come into close contact with each other over the course of a week, and may also reduce the number of workers quarantined because of exposure to the virus.
  5. Owners/operators should maximize opportunities to place farmworkers residing together in the same vehicles for transportation and in the same cohorts to limit exposure.
  6. Basic information and training about infection prevention should be provided to all farmworkers in languages they can understand.
  7. Agriculture work sites developing plans for continuing operations where COVID-19 is spreading among workers or in the surrounding community should work directly with appropriate state and local public health officials and occupational safety and health professionals.

Apple Maggot Fly Traps Should go up; End of Scab??

By Terence Bradshaw

June 25, 2020

Hopefully everyone had some fungicide coverage on for that last rain we got yesterday. It’s hard to tell without doing proper spore counts, but I feel pretty confident saying that primary scab season is done for this year. Scout your orchards for lesions and protect from secondary infections if you find any. But really, this has been a pretty easy scab season.

Keep looking for fire blight and remove as soon as you see it. If you have any big outbreaks, let me know. My Cornell colleagues Dr. Kerik Cox and Anna Wallis are collecting samples of fire blight-infected tissue to test for antibiotic resistance in the pathogen. If you can participate, I’ll be happy to help with collection and shipping if I can do it in a timely manner.

If codling moth is a serious pest in your orchard, you may be due for a second treatment with an effective material. Otherwise, you’re likely in between insect concerns until apple maggot and/or obliquebanded leafroller come around. Now is the time to get apple maggot fly (AMF) traps up. These are some of the easiest pests to manage using an IPM strategy, so there’s really no excuse. The idea is to assess the population in the orchard before applying prophylactic sprays. By using red sticky traps, you can time treatments for best effectiveness, and maybe even skip treatments if the populations are low enough. Traps are red plastic balls that you coat with Tanglefoot adhesive. Kits including traps and adhesive are available from Gemplers and Great Lakes IPM.

Traps should be hung at least four per 10-acre block, preferably at the orchard perimeter and especially near sources of the insect, like wild or unmanaged apples. Placement in the tree should be about head-height, and surrounding foliage should be trimmed away- this trap is largely visual, and you should be able to see it from 10-20 yards away. The traps may be baited with an apple essence lure that improves their attractiveness dramatically. For monitoring to time sprays, unbaited traps that catch one fly per block (as an average of all the traps in the block) would warrant treatment; the lure makes them much more attractive such that you can wait until an average of five flies per trap are caught before treating. For most growers, the main insecticide used against AMF is Assail, Imidan also works but it has a long reentry interval and tends to leave visible residue on fruit. For organic growers, Surround works well, but its use in midsummer may increase European red mites, and it can be hard to remove at harvest; spinosad (Entrust) works pretty well too. First AMF treatment is still a few weeks off, most likely.

Think about including calcium in all of your foliar sprays until harvest, and on Honeycrisp and other large-fruited varieties, you may want to make some specific trips just to get more Ca on.