Press Release

Welch Joins USDA Under Secretary Robert Bonnie to Survey Flood Damage to Farms and Discuss Importance of Federal Support for Vermont Farmers  

Aug 14, 2023

RICHMOND, VT – Today, Senator Peter Welch (D-VT), member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and Chair of the Rural Development and Energy Subcommittee, joined Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in welcoming Robert Bonnie, the Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to Vermont to assess damage to local farms impacted by the July 2023 flooding.  

They were joined at Conant’s Riverside Farm in Richmond by Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets Anson Tebbetts and local farmers and agricultural producers, where they discussed the importance of a strong federal response for Vermont’s farmers recovering from damage sustained from the floods.  

“Our delegation is working together and closely with Governor Scott to get critical disaster relief to our farmers as soon as possible, and today’s visit from USDA Under Secretary Robert Bonnie was a welcome reminder of the Biden Administration’s commitment to Vermont’s recovery from this flood. We won’t rest until Vermonters get the help they need,” said Sen. Welch. “With the reality of climate change, we’re going to need some commonsense changes to federal programs that help ensure the success and longevity of our small and family farms, especially when it comes to flooding. I know our farmers and producers’ voices today were heard.”  

Earlier today, the delegation toured the Intervale Center in Burlington, a non-profit farm that supports farm incubators and community-supported agriculture, which was heavily impacted by the flood. The delegation also hosted a roundtable with a coalition of local farmers, and later discussed the May frosts with impacted farmers, which also put a strain on Vermont’s agricultural producers. 

Vermont’s Congressional Delegation has pushed for additional support for impacted flood victims, and is working on behalf of farmers, small businesses, and communities to get federal resources back to the state as quickly as possible.  

Vermont farmers impacted by the July 2023 storm are encouraged to document all damage to their homes by submitting time-stamped photos and a detailed report of damage on the Vermont 2-1-1 website or by calling 2-1-1. Farmers should report estimated crop and infrastructure losses to their county’s U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. For more information on USDA FSA, please click here.   

Impacted farms are encouraged to report damage to their farms as soon as possible. Senator Welch’s team of caseworkers can help Vermonters work with federal agencies like the Small Business Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the USDA. For assistance, please call Senator Welch’s Burlington office: 802-863-2525.