Sarah Mearhoff

Scott requests USDA disaster declaration for May freeze that caused heavy crop damage

Some farmers report up to 95% crop losses; damage in Vermont could surpass $10 million

Citing “extensive and pervasive” damage to crops, Gov. Phil Scott is requesting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture issue a disaster declaration because temperatures plunged into the low 20s across Vermont for hours in mid-May, freezing vulnerable young buds on thousands of fruits.

In a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on June 19, Scott described the “debilitating damage” to crops of apples, grapes, blueberries, peaches and other stone fruit across the state. He asked that a federal disaster be declared in all of Vermont's 14 counties, which would open up financial assistance and low-interest USDA loans to eligible farmers.

Some Vermont farmers have reported up to 95% crop losses from the freeze, and numerous horticultural experts and farmers have said it's the worst damage they've ever seen. State leaders estimate total losses could surpass $10 million.

The financial devastation is particularly acute for the many farmers who do not have crop insurance. And those who do are often underinsured for losses of this magnitude.

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Scott administration defends plan to end motel program

At least 6 Democratic legislators threaten to uphold a potential veto if the state budget does not include funding for a pandemic program to house 2,500 people for which no housing is otherwise available

As thousands of Vermonters experiencing homelessness stand to lose their state-funded emergency shelter come July, Secretary of Human Services Jenney Samuelson said she expects some of the estimated 2,500 people to “self-resolve” their lack of housing by the time the state winds down the pandemic-era program. “There are some...

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Scott won reelection by widest margin yet

Governor sweeps every town in Vermont to secure his fourth term with the help of split-ticket voters

Vermont voters love Gov. Phil Scott more than ever. According to results from the Vermont Secretary of State's Office, the 64-year-old incumbent was reelected to a fourth term on Nov. 8 with 71% of the vote - eclipsing his previous record in 2020 by more than 2 percentage points.

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Brattleboro voting age will remain at 18

Gov. Phil Scott's veto of Brattleboro's proposed charter change has prevailed, snuffing the town's hopes of allowing teens to vote and run in municipal elections. On March 31, the Senate failed to override Scott's veto of H.361. Fifteen senators voted in favor of overriding the governor and 12 voted against doing so. A two-thirds majority was required. In 2019, more than two-thirds of Brattleboro voters approved a charter amendment that would have allowed 16- and 17-year-olds to vote and run...

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