Upcoming VTFGA annual conference

Good morning,

It’s been too long since we have gotten together as friends and as an industry to catch up and share knowledge to ensure the sustainability of Vermont apples.

The 127th annual VTFGA conference is less than three weeks away. We’ll be meeting in person at the American Legion in Middlebury on Friday, February 17th. If you plan on attending it would help with our planning if you registered soon. Register online (https://2023-vermont-tree-fruit-growers-association.cheddarup.com/) or use the paper form attached to this email. Walk in registration is an option but not preferred.

Attending the meeting qualifies attendees for 3 VT pesticide credits.

Your membership to VTFGA includes an annual membership and listing to DIG IN VERMONT (https://diginvt.com/), a $50 value. Also included in a VTFGA membership is a listing on the Vermont Apples webpage (www.vermontapples.org). Your dues also help pay for fall marketing campaigns.

This year’s program includes a broad range of material that is relevant to all levels, scales, and types of farms: intensive Integrated Pest Management series by Terry Bradshaw, UVM, Jaime Pinero, UMASS, and Srdjan Acimovic, Virginia Tech; updates on pesticide programs by new Steve Dwinell, Director of Public Health and Agricultural Resource Management Division at Vermont Agency of Agriculture; changes and opportunities to weigh in on apple crop insurance program by Colleen Kisselburgh; a review of liability considerations for pick-your-own farms by Stuart Farnham; and a review of licensing considerations for farm kitchens and other processors.

Thank you,

Jim Bove, VTFGA President

Terry Bradshaw, UVM Fruit Program

2023 127th Meeting Agenda.pdf
VTFGA 2023 Meeting Registration Form.pdf

Open now: University of Vermont Fruit Team Orchard Productivity and Costs of Production Survey

Please share freely with your networks.

University of Vermont Fruit Team Orchard Productivity and Costs of Production Survey

University of Vermont Plant and Soil Science M.S. student Joseph Leahy is conducting a survey designed to collect important information on apple production in New England and surrounding states. Data collected in this survey will be used to fulfill the objectives or research and outreach projects funded by USDA and Vermont Agriculture Experiment Station. The intent of this survey is to evaluate past and present apple production in Vermont and the surrounding region and to guide future research and outreach programming. All data will be kept confidential and cannot be linked back to any individual operation. This survey complies with Institutional Review Board policies at the University of Vermont, and because no sensitive data are collected nor are responses attributable to individual respondents, it is exempt from increased privacy protocols under certificate CHRBSS: 18-0332. Questions regarding this survey may be directed to: Terence Bradshaw, tbradsha, (802)922-2591. This survey should take 20-30 minutes to complete. Respondents will need to have basic financial information on hand to complete the survey.


Every respondent will be entered to win a $100 Tractor Supply gift card. Please respond by February 15, 2023

117th Annual UVM Fruit / VTFGA Meeting – February 17th, 2023

The 2023 Vermont Tree Fruit Growers Association and UVM Fruit Program Annual Meeting will be Live and In-Person on February, 17, 2023 in Middlebury, VT. Registration is live at this link: https://2023-vermont-tree-fruit-growers-association.cheddarup.com. Attached is the detailed Meeting Agenda as well as a registration/membership form for those who want to pay by mail/check.

Please register at your earliest convenience. This helps us plan for lunch, which is being catered by Pratt’s Store and Deli in Bridport. There will be coffee, tea, cider, bagels and cream cheese available in the morning. Lunch is lasagna (meat and veggie), caesar salad, garlic bread, broccoli salad, and cookies and brownies.

You may have a problem using the online registration when using a device with a small display (i.e an IPAD). If so, please use a device with a larger display screen (i.e. a laptop).

Registration questions should go to James Bove: jbovevt

Program questions please email me: tbradsha

-Terry and Jim

Where trade names or commercial products are used for identification, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied. Always read the label before using any pesticide. The label is the legal document for the product use. Disregard any information in this message if it is in conflict with the label.

The UVM Tree Fruit and Viticulture Program is supported by the University of Vermont Agriculture Experiment Station, UVM Extension, USDA NIFA E-IPM Program, and USDA Risk Management Agency.

UVM Extension helps individuals and communities put research-based knowledge to work. University of Vermont Extension, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status.

VTFGA 2023 Meeting Registration Form.pdf
2023 127th Meeting Agenda.pdf

Announcement – RMA Listening Sessions for Apples (Spring 2023)

Passing on this invitation to participate in a listening session with the USDA on crop insurance for apple producers. -TB

From: Keene, Tracey – FPAC-RMA, Kansas City, MO
Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2022 11:40 AM
Subject: Announcement – RMA Listening Sessions for Apples (Spring 2023)

Hello –

On December 16, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced publication of a proposed rule in the Federal Register to amend the Apple Crop Provisions. The Proposed Rule was open for public comment through April 15, 2022. The proposed changes were based on stakeholder feedback and recommended changes from a contracted study on the apple crop insurance program. The Risk Management Agency (RMA) received nearly 1,200 comments in response to the Apple Proposed Rule.

RMA contacted you earlier this year to garner the interest of stakeholders in your area for additional engagement sessions as well as appropriate timing for these sessions. Based on the feedback we received, RMA is moving forward with additional engagement sessions to discuss comments and questions received during the comment period of the Proposed Rule. We are cognizant that the Proposed Rule impacts a wide range of stakeholders nationwide and want to ensure our engagement plan is as inclusive as possible.

The in-person sessions are scheduled for March 2023 and the virtual session, an offering for stakeholders who could not attend in-person due to schedule and/or location, is scheduled for April 2023. Attached is the announcement for the 2023 Apple Listening Sessions. Because these engagement sessions are in response to comments received on the Proposed Rule for Apples, we want to ensure that this announcement is circulated as widely as possible. We request that you please distribute this announcement to the appropriate stakeholders in your region.


Tracey Keene

USDA | RMA | PASD | Loss Adjustment Standards Branch

Phone: (816) 926-6339

Email: tracey.keene

USDA is an Equal Opportunity Provider, Employer, and Lender.

This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.

Announcement – RMA Apple Listening Sessions (2023).pdf

Upcoming Labor Management Workshops – Please Share

Passing this on from UVM Extension. -TB

Build Your Farm Labor Management Know-How

The 2023 workshop series from the Farm Labor Dashboard project will help farmers build knowledge and skills they need to successfully recruit and manage the right employees for their farms. The workshops are geared to produce and diversified livestock producers who are new to managing employees, and to farmers who are considering changes to how they arrange for, and manage, labor on their farms. Women farmers’ learning needs and priorities are integrated throughout the series.

Sessions include:

  • Growing Successful Work TeamsIdentify your communication and management preferences and practical ways to use them to build a successful crew for the coming season. This two-session workshop will be offered three times in January 2023, with the same content covered in each section. Select the section that works best in schedule: Jan 7 & 14; Jan. 12 & 19; or Jan. 17 & 24. Cost: $35, advance registration is required.
  • Coaching Farmers on Payroll Planning – Service Provider Session (January 10, noon-1 pm Eastern Time). Learn about simple tools and strategies service providers and educators can use to help farmers calculate the cost of hired workers and to help them develop a financial plan to ensure they will have the resources on hand to meet payroll needs. Free, advance registration required.
  • Planning for Payroll – Farmer Session (January 11, Noon-1 pm Eastern Time) Hiring your first farm employee can be daunting. Join this session to learn how to use simple tools that will help you understand the complete cost of hired workers and develop a financial plan to help ensure you will have resources on hand to meet payroll needs. Free, advance registration required.
  • Staffing Up: (Feb. 9, Noon-1:30 pm Eastern Time). Join this participatory session to share and co-learn effective strategies to hire and retain employees. Prior to the workshop you will receive advance materials – such as short video clips and/or short articles – that will set the stage for discussion and learning during the session. Following the session, there will be opportunities to for individual follow-up and feedback from session facilitators. Free, advance registration required.
  • Practical Techniques to Optimize Employee Performance. (Feb. 23, Noon-1:30 pm ET) In this participatory session, we’ll explore effective communication practices that share expectations and provide feedback to employees all season long. Prior to the workshop you will receive advance materials – such as short video clips and/or short articles – that will set the stage for discussion and learning during the session. Following the session, there will be opportunities to for individual follow-up and feedback from session facilitators. Free, advance registration required.
  • The Art of Negotiation: Negotiation basics, with a focus on labor management. (Mar 2 & 9, Noon-1 pm Eastern Time). Free, advance registration required.

All sessions will be held via Zoom. Connection information will be sent following registration.

Learn more at the beth.holtzman.

Learn more at the Farm Labor Dashboard.

The workshops are made possible by grant support provided by USDA/NIFA under award 2021-49400-35641. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. University of Vermont Extension, Burlington, Vermont. University of Vermont Extension, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status. Any reference to commercial products, trade names, or brand names is for information only, and no endorsement or approval is intended.

Share from website: https://blog.uvm.edu/aglabor/2023/01/04/build-your-labor-management-know-how/

Share from Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=1059957694948252&set=a.973452206932135


Beth Holtzman (she/her) Why pronouns:

University of Vermont Extension

Women’s Ag Network | New Farmer Project | VT State SARE

802-476-2003 x204

I am currently working remotely. You can reach me via email or leave a voicemail message by phone.


New England Fruit and Vegetable Conference December 13-15, Manchester, NH

The New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference will be held in Manchester, NH December 13-15, 2022. This is the biggest specialty crops educational conference in the region, and has dozens of great talks, farmer to farmer sessions, and a great trade show. There are fruit sessions on all three days, and lots of cross-commodity sessions on regulations, farm technology, agritourism, and labor, to name just a few. Trust me, this conference is your biggest bang for the buck for professional development this coming winter.

Details and registration are available at: https://newenglandvfc.org/

2023 New England Farmer Microgrants Program

Applications are open for the 2023 New England Farmer Microgrants Program! Apply by November 4th.

The New England Farmer Microgrants Program(NEFMP), founded in 2020, seeks to address financial barriers for farmers in New England by offering grants for projects related to land access, farm succession, and the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices. Since its founding, NEFMP has awarded $775,000 to 165 farmers across New England.

In 2023, there are two separate funding opportunities: Western New England Regenerative Livestock Farming Support grants (RLF), and Farmland Access, Succession, and Transfer Support grants (FAST). These two opportunities address key concerns for farmers in the region.

The Western New England Regenerative Livestock Farming Grants. The Western New England Regenerative Livestock Farming funding opportunity provides grants up to $10,000 to livestock producers in select counties in CT, MA, NH, and VT for projects that improve soil health through the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices.Learn More

The Farmland Access, Succession, and Transfer Grants. The Farmland Access, Succession, and Transfer Support opportunity provides grants of up to $5,000 to farmers anywhere in New England who are looking to purchase or lease land to farm, or pass their farms on to other farmers. Learn More

Applications close November 4th at 5pm!

Contact our staff with any questions: Kristen Irvin | kirvin@farmland.org | 413-419-0023

Alissa White​
Sr. Manager for Climate and Agriculture
Email: awhite
Website: www.farmland.org
Join the Farming Is Our Future campaign today!

“This message and its contents are confidential. If you received this message in error, do not use or rely upon it. Instead, please inform the sender and then delete it. Opinions in this email may only be those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of American Farmland Trust. The contents of this email do not constitute a binding offer or acceptance by American Farmland Trust unless so set forth in a separate document.”

Don’t Miss the Environmental Quality Incentive Program Deadline!

From: Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
Sent: Sunday, October 9, 2022 5:30 PM
To: Terence Bradshaw
Subject: Don’t Miss the Environmental Quality Incentive Program Deadline!

NRCS Local Service Center Locator

Don’t Miss the Environmental Quality Incentive Program Deadline!

New waste storage infrastructure can be costly, but is one of the most effective ways for farms to decrease nutrient runoff and is often a necessary investment to keep up with state water quality regulations.

The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) from the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) can help farms invest in manure management projects, in addition to less engineering-heavy projects like rotational grazing infrastructure and in-field conservation practices.

Farms are eligible for up to $450,000 in federal assistance under EQIP every Farm Bill (every 5 years).

If farms think ahead and break up their most costly projects across multiple Farm Bills, they can maximize the federal and state assistance they are eligible for. The 2018 Farm Bill is coming to a close in the upcoming Fiscal Year.

Contact your local NRCS now to see how close you are to your EQIP cap under the 2018 Farm Bill and to apply for this final year of funding before your cap resets next year! The deadline is November 18th.

Click Here for More EQIP Info
Vermont Day Breaks Big E Attendance Record
Exceptional Year for Vermont Vendors and Visitors at the Big E!

It was a fantastic year in the Vermont Building at the region’s biggest fair, The Big E. Preliminary sales for 2022 totaled $1.7 million over the 17-day event.

The Vermont Building again hosted many great vendors from the Green Mountain State. One such vendor was Nomadic Kitchen, whose S’mores Macaron was recommended by MassLive as the #1 new food to try at The Big E in 2022!

Additionally, the all-time Big E single day attendance record was hit on Vermont Day (September 24th). With Governor Scott in attendance, 177,789 people attended the Big E.

Logan George, the Maintenance and Services staff member for the Vermont Building, received The Big E "Host of the Day" award on September 28th. The award recognizes one individual of The Big E each day during the fair who goes "above and beyond" to make the fair a positive experience for everyone involved.

A huge thanks to the vendors, building staff, and visitors who make the Vermont Building such an incredible place at the fair!

Learn more about the Vermont Building

VEDA Short Term Forgivable Loan Program
Short Term Forgivable Loans for Priority Sectors

The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) has funding available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to support businesses that continue to experience economic harm from COVID-19.

In accordance with state guidelines the program will only accept applications from businesses in travel & tourism, restaurants and eating establishments, lodging, childcare, agriculture, or any BIPOC-owned business until October 15th.

After October 15th, VEDA will reassess the need to continue limiting applications to these priority sectors. Please check back for updates.

Businesses must have fewer than 500 employees, have been in operation as of March 13th, 2020, demonstrate economic harm from COVID-19, and plan to use the forgivable loans for operating expenses.

You can download the application package here, which includes a tool to calculate your eligibility and the size of your potential loan. Applicants are highly encouraged to seek technical assistance to determine their eligibility.

Priority Funding Deadline: Oct. 15th

Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Mailing List
Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Mailing List

The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative has a new mailing list! The Initiative supports innovative entrepreneurs at the forefront of Vermont’s Working Lands economy through technical and financial assistance to help growing businesses thrive.

The Working Lands Fund supports grants and contracts that have ranged from $5,000-$250,000. If you are interested in Working Lands grant opportunities, events, and business support, please sign up for their new mailing list.

Learn more about Working Lands

Calving: What’s Normal, What’s Not Normal, and When to Intervene
Managing Cows During Calving Webinar

Join University of Vermont Extension for an online webinar as part of their Dairy Herd Health Workshop series hosted by Dr. Dayna Locitzer, large animal vet at the Green Mountain Bovine Clinic.

The upcoming webinar will attempt to give farmers a better understanding of how to manage their cows during calving, including appropriate care for each of the three calving stages, and how/when to intervene.

Register for this free webinar.

Webinar: Oct. 20th from 12-1:00pm ET

Organic Certification Cost Share Program
View the VAAFM Grants Calendar
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Important Cider Apple Grower Survey- Due September 30

I know it’s a terrible time to ask growers to complete a survey, but we have some project timelines to meet and would like to get an assessment of the status of cider apple production in New England and eastern New York. With a day of rainy day ahead of us (in Northern New England, anyway), this is a great time to complete the survey and help us to continue to evaluate cider apple production in the region. It should only take about ten minutes to finish.


This survey is concerned primarily with cider apples that were intentionally grown for making hard cider, as opposed to cull dessert fruit cultivars, i.e., off-grade McIntosh, Cortland, etc. that were intended for fresh market sales but sold to cideries at marketing time due to reductions in fruit quality or similar factors. Your cider apples may be of European cider cultivars, heirloom varieties, or even dessert fruit but should be managed as cider apples separate from your fresh market apples, if grown.

Thank you in advance, especially for the timing and short turnaround. I would like to summarize the data in early October, so a September 30 deadline is best.


Terry Bradshaw, University of Vermont Fruit Program

Project Director, New England Cider Apple Program

It’s time to consider ReTain applications in Vermont orchards

The use of plant growth regulators to help with harvest management and improve fruit quality is an important tool in many orchards. ReTain plant growth regulator is used to slow ethylene synthesis in ripening fruit to delay maturity and reduce preharvest drop. Given the dry and hot conditions experienced this summer, drop potential is high, and growers should plan on treating their orchards more often than not. One or two applications may be made at the rate of one pouch (11.7 oz) per acre each. Application 21 to 28 days prior to normal harvest will delay ripening 7-10 days and improve fruit storability. ReTain is especially recommended on McIntosh, and reduced rates (1/2 pouch each application) suggested for Macoun and Honeycrisp. ReTain also improves fruit quality on Cortland and Gala. ReTain is not just for fruit destined for wholesale markets. In fact, it is an excellent tool to help stretch harvest out and reduce ‘Monday morning drops’ in U-pick blocks. It also helps to maintain fruit quality both on-tree and in short-term storage.

Jim Wargo from Valent USA has a good list of specific recommendations for ReTain use here.