Farm show to focus on future of farming

Published: Jan. 29, 2020 at 8:20 AM EST
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The annual Vermont Farm Show is underway offering farmers, friends and families a place to fill up on all things agriculture.

The future of farming is a big focus of this year's event. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture has a booth set up for all three days offering help and advice to farmers looking to try out new crops or marketing strategies.

Officials say they recognize Vermont's agricultural economy is in a period of transition as it faces significant challenges, including how to protect the environment and mitigate the effects of a rising dairy surplus.

Officials say the growing market for hemp is a new and exciting way to use lands, but many farmers found out this past season, managing the labor-intensive crop can be overwhelming without the right tools.

And no matter what you're growing or selling, they say one of your most valuable tools is social media. Officials say they're encouraging more farmers to jump on the bandwagon because it's a cheap and easy way to showcase the goods farmers have to offer.

"It's real. It can be difficult. It can be beautiful. It can be rewarding. And for farmers and producers who don't have a big advertising or marketing budget, with a little bit of work, you can manage a pretty good platform and make a difference to their business," Vermont Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts said.

He says the farmers who have most successfully marketed through social media are authentic, giving consumers insight into their daily hardships and accomplishments.

On Wednesday, the Agency of Agriculture is hosting three workshops on social media, hemp and produce.

Future Farmers of America students will be the focus at the Farm Show Wednesday. Consumer night goes from 4-7 p.m. and there will also be the Capitol Cookout, which features the Senate and House and Agency of Agriculture.

Jackie Folsom, the manager of the Farm Show says it's not just a show for farmers.

"This is more of a homecoming for Vermonters. They come up here, they see each other and chat," she said.

Doors at the Champlain Valley Expo open at 9 a.m. and the show runs through Thursday.