Dairy & Agriculture

As cows graze on an adjacent field, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) looks out over a switchgrass farm in Randolph, Vt. on August 11, 2011.

Sen. Sanders believes that small, family farms are fundamentally important for Vermont and America as a whole. In his years representing the Green Mountain State, Sen. Sanders has worked to promote Vermont’s dairy industry, sustainable and organic farming, and good nutrition for every American.

On February 7, 2014 the Farm Bill was signed into law, which set the nation’s agricultural policy for the next five years. This law brings greater stability to Vermont dairy farmers by helping them to manage risks and produce products more efficiently.

The bill encourages increased access to healthy, local foods and will build on a growing movement in Vermont which has created agriculture jobs and provided local food for Vermonters. The bill also includes a provision to help low-income seniors shop at farmers’ markets and roadside stands that are popular across Vermont. While Sen. Sanders was very disappointed that this bill made $8.6 billion in cuts over the next decade to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, he was very pleased that Governor Shumlin and the Vermont State Legislature worked to prevent cuts in food stamps for Vermont families and seniors receiving home heating assistance.

“Too many farms that have been in the same family for generations already have been forced out of business...”

- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)


Sen. Sanders strongly believes that the dairy industry is a vital part of the fabric of Vermont’s communities and a central part of the state’s rural economy. He is committed to ensuring that dairy farmers receive a fair price for the milk they produce. As part of the implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill, USDA is in the process of developing the Margin Protection Program, and producers can begin to sign up for the program beginning September 2, 2014. For more information on the program, the USDA’s Farm Service Agency has set up a Margin Protection Program page, which can be accessed here.

Local Food

Sen. Sanders is proud of Vermont farmers’ pioneering work in the local and sustainable food movement. He has successfully advocated making local food part of school lunches and nutrition assistance programs. Sen. Sanders strongly supports farmers’ markets, value added agriculture, and agri-tourism.

Genetically Modified Food

Sen. Sanders supports the rights of consumers to know what is in their food. In 2013, Sen. Sanders introduced an amendment to the Farm Bill affirming states’ rights to require labeling of genetically engineered ingredients. During the debate, he noted that “All over this country, people are becoming more conscious about the foods they are eating and the foods they are serving to their kids, and this is certainly true for genetically engineered foods…I believe that when a mother goes to the store and purchases food for her child, she has the right to know what she is feeding her child”


Sen. Sanders strongly supports access to good nutrition for every American. With unemployment, under-employment, and low wages plaguing the middle class, many working families rely on nutrition assistance to make ends meet. Sen. Sanders believes that “it is unconscionable that the federal government would cut back on food and nutrition assistance to states as our nation struggles to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression.”