‘Dig Deep Vermont’ Campaign Launches Today

Supporting Vermont Family Farms Enduring the Lasting Impacts of the 2023 Severe Weather & Floods

Montpelier, VT (January 17, 2024) – In the wake of the catastrophic 2023 severe weather and floods that caused widespread damage along Vermont waterways, several business and government leaders are stepping up for farms fighting to remain solvent. Threats to solvency include potentially permanent seasonal and perennial crop damage, inadequate winter feed supplies for animals, financial ruin from lost harvests necessary to pay loans, and irreparable damage to equipment and facilities.

This new fundraising campaign, envisioned by a group of agriculture supporters working in concert with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets (VAAFM) and championed by the Vermont Association of Broadcasters (VAB), Ski Vermont, the Association of Vermont Credit Unions and a dedicated alliance of local and out-of-state private enterprises, will make donations to local communities possible through a first-in-the-country crisis response template.

The group aims to reach most Vermonters and visitors to Vermont over the coming year and raise funds in and for every county with recovering farms identified by the Severe Weather and Flooding Loss & Damage Survey developed by VAAFM. The campaign goal is to raise $20 million with the need being far greater at nearly $45 million, according to the VAAFM.

To help provide relief for more than 350 family farms across the state, the VAB officially launched the ‘Dig Deep Vermont’ campaign today in collaboration with its supporting groups as well as Governor Phil Scott and Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts.

“Vermont’s farms faced significant challenges this year from freezing to floods,” said Vermont Governor Phil Scott. “The loss is significant, and farmers need our help. We must work to support our ag economy and the local economies in every Vermont county.”

 A Call to Action

“We tapped companies and associations with a deep connection to Vermont agriculture to help,” said Joe Bergeron, CEO of the Vermont Association of Credit Unions, one of the initiators of the Dig Deep Vermont campaign. “We are joined with the Vermont Association of Broadcasters, and the Vermont Ski Areas Association to ensure we ask every Vermont resident, visitor, and college alum to give back to those who have tended the land and landscapes which nurture us on so many levels.”

“Vermont’s ski industry has a long history of supporting the state’s working landscape because agriculture is so central to the fabric of Vermont,” said Ski Vermont President Molly Mahar. “Our shared sense of community is one of the things that makes living in—and visiting—Vermont such a unique experience. Ski areas and their staff are members of these communities, and in a way so are the skiers and riders who return each year. Most of Vermont’s skier visits come from out-of-state, and we are working with member areas to encourage all visitors to join in supporting our neighbors.”

Secretary Tebbetts said he is grateful for the support from Vermonters as well as those out of state companies who helped develop the campaign, most significantly, GIVIO, which empowers individuals to contribute anytime, anywhere. The funds raised will be distributed by the Vermont Farm Bureau, with advice from VAAMF and others, to affected farms in each county until the campaign concludes August 1, 2024. Farmers seeking assistance should fill out the Dig Deep Vermont Farm Assistance Request Form on the Dig Deep Vermont website.

The Need is Real and Critical – Highlights:

  • Over 27,000 acres of vital farmland have been adversely impacted by the severe weather this summer and during November and December 2023
  • Total Vermont agriculture related losses reported by farmers to VAAFM could reach nearly $45 million, threatening the livelihoods of countless farmers and farm related businesses.
  • A livestock feed crisis jeopardizes the well-being of all Vermont’s farm animals.
  • Crop loss had severe impacts on many produce and flower/herb farms in Vermont, with multiple reporting 90% or more reduced income.
  • Overwhelming financial burdens remain after the widespread destruction of crops, often paid for in advance with borrowed funds.
  • The destruction of essential farm equipment, tractors, tools, and fields that have been washed away by the flooding impedes recovery.
  • Hundreds of employee layoffs at a critical time add to the economic, social, and mental/physical health tolls farmers are experiencing as they enter the challenging winter months. Link to VAAFM Severe Flood Survey: VAAFM Flood Survey Results

“We are grateful to the generous developers of this campaign model at GIVIO along with my own team at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets, Driven Studio, Unified Strategies Public Relations Network, and Image Relay, Tebbetts said. “I applaud their initiative in helping us meet this need. Each group has given their time, money, and resources to pull this off because they know that farming is at the heart our Vermont values. And I’m especially grateful to Farm Credit East and Farrell Distributing to help us launch the campaign today.”

Click here to donate now: Dig Deep Vermont

About Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) facilitates, supports, and encourages the growth and viability of agriculture in Vermont while protecting the working landscape, human health, animal health, plant health, consumers, and the environment.

About Vermont Association of Broadcasters
Vermont Association of Broadcasters (VAB) is the non-profit trade association that unites, celebrates, and advocates for the more than one hundred free, over-the-air broadcast television and radio stations dedicated to serving our communities.

About Ski Vermont
Ski Vermont , a non-profit trade association serving alpine and cross-country ski areas, is a proud ambassador of the thriving winter tourism industry in Vermont, where the legislature has designated skiing and snowboarding as the official state sports. Vermont is not only the top ski state in the east and among the top destinations in the US, but also boasts world-class snowmaking quality, coverage, and operational efficiency, variety of terrain, and historical impact on the sports of skiing and snowboarding – making it one of the most significant ski and ride destinations in the world. Ski Vermont’s mission is to help maintain an environment in which the state’s ski areas can grow and prosper.

The following companies who support this campaign, worked together for more than 15 years to help develop the Cabot Creamery Cooperative brand in support of Agri-Mark’s farm families.

About Givio
Givio Inc., is a charitable giving technology company on a mission to make giving and fundraising easy and more impactful. Through its Charitable Banking™ solution and the Givio mobile app, Givio simplifies charitable giving, to any of the nation’s 1.6M nonprofits. Most recently, Givio joined Cabot to provide an individual fundraising system for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, to raise money to amplify the organization’s 50 year mission as a catalyst for self-supporting communities through cooperative economic development, land retention, for Black farmers, as well funding the preservation of the History of racism against southern black farmers

About Image Relay
Image Relay, a Certified B Corporation, is inspired by helping brands and organizations tell their stories. The Vermont-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) company offers a unified DAM and PIM solution. Customers can efficiently store, access, and share their brand-approved, up-to-date product information and digital assets with Image Relay – SOC-2 compliant and used by over 400 companies with 100,000 users globally.

About Driven Studio
Driven Studio is a full-service creative agency based in Burlington, Vermont that specializes in graphic design, video production, copywriting, and studio photography. We’re proud to be a Certified B Corporation – because we believe that business should be a force for good.

About USPR Network
Unified Strategies Public Relations Network (USPR) is an international network of Public Relations and marketing communications professionals, born out of a strong desire to provide clients with cost-effective solutions for all their communications needs.

Click here to donate now: Dig Deep Vermont