Farm groups support new agriculture commissioner

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(Host) Farm groups are responding favorably to the appointment of Steve Kerr as Vermont’s new Agriculture Commissioner. Kerr is currently the state director of the USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

Charlotte farmer Clark Hinsdale heads the Vermont Farm Bureau. Hinsdale says Kerr is in touch with the needs of farmers.

(Hinsdale) “He gets out around the countryside and hears what farmers have to say and participates himself in the grassroots farm bureau process. He comes with all that experience, and one of the most important things for a small, poor state like Vermont is maximizing our access to whatever the federal government has to offer and Steve’s proven he can do that in the Farm Service Agency.”

(Host) Troy dairy farmer Dexter Randall is on the board of the advocacy group Rural Vermont. Randall says he hopes Kerr will bring new ideas to the problems faced by Vermont farmers:

(Randall) “I think that he has had a lot of experience. I hope that there are things that he has a vision that he can lead us forward where we need to be and get out of some of the serious problems that we’re in. I also feel that we need to have somebody that can look at not only agribusiness, but look at sustainable agriculture and all facets of agriculture.”

(Host) Randall says the new commissioner needs to work with other states to help solve problems confronting dairy farmers nationally. He says the commissioner should also work to develop more local markets for Vermont agricultural products.

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