Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why wouldn't a quail be poultry? (1-26-11)

Today began at 8:30 am with a quick brainstorm with Jared before we headed in for him to testify in Senate Agriculture. There, Jared explained some concrete ideas that Rural Vermont has for implementing the Farm to Plate Initiative this session. The committee seemed very supportive of on-farm slaughter, and there was much discussion regarding legal action that could be taken against the Federal government if they try to hold VT back from this for longer. In addition to slaughter, Jared began to touch on the local procurement bill we are working on with Anthony Pollina. The group also seemed supportive of this, and has directed us to get more specific and start presenting evidence on how this would work for VT. 35 other states have these buy-local programs worked into legislation, and it is high time we catch up. So, for the remainder of the week, I am going to plow away on that research: looking at what other states do, and preparing a proposal.
During the afternoon today, I heard about the Taste of Place program, which is run by the Agency of Agriculture. I have put up my notes below, but it essentially is looking to help figure out how to brand VT products for regional and national recognition. The program is in its' initial stages and is looking to define quality standards, etc.
Below those notes, I have written more about the Farm to Plate progress in the House, as well and the ever-exciting H52 poultry bill. I know, you are on the edge of your seat... Is a quail poultry or not?!?!? Read below to find out...

Taste of Place and Place Based Labeling (Agency of Agriculture)
Agency of Agriculture examined wine, cheese, maple, apple and meat products in terms of customer ideas on quality and standards.
-Working with the Center for Rural Studies at UVM, a survey was conducted on these products. Survey was sent to New England states, and got a response from 10% of those who received the survey.
-Survey respondents were generally upper middle class
-Study found that consumers are disillusioned with top-down quality control and standards. Rather, consumers are interested in industries regulating themselves in order to establish field-specific, stringent standards.
-This would create systems of self-monitoring within industries and possibly more specialized premium products

House Committee on Agriculture:
Discussing Concrete Goals/ Actions from Farm to Plate

-More Vermont food sold regionally
-Duncn think that increasing local purchasing of dairy products is nearly impossibly and it is a poor goal---->How do we get our farmer's to receive fair prices for their milk
-The committee discusses how impenetrable the milk market is on account of monopoly
-Norm brings up directing the focus of action onto other livestock products such as meat, etc..
-Goal of boosting local farm economy through regional distribution and by increasing local consumption

H.52 would strike quail, partridge and pheasant from the definition of poultry
-This bill would allow game bird farmers to sell there birds without inspection
-Question remains as to whether this lack of inspection would be listed on menus or not
-The committee recognizes that USDA inspection does not necessarily indicate safety for the consumer
-Chickens within the 1,000 bird limit would remain subject to the caveat on menus
-Randy will be brought back for further questioning
-This bill has yet to be voted on (so you can't know about the quail yet)

Just another day at work.

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