Vermont's agriculture is very diverse. Approximately 6,000 farms in Vermont produce everything from emus to sheep's milk cheese. Nearly a million and a half acres of Vermont land are in agriculture, sustaining the pastoral landscape that has made Vermont famous.
Dairying is the primary farm industry in Vermont, producing more than two billion pounds of milk annually. Approximately half the milk consumed in New England is produced on Vermont farms. Milk, cheese, ice cream, butter, yogurt, and other popular dairy foods are produced from Vermont's rich milk.
Vermont is America's largest producer of maple syrup and also produces substantial crops of Macintosh apples, potatoes, eggs, honey, vegetables, Christmas trees, lumber, pulp wood, and green house nursery products. Aquaculture, sheep, goat, turkey and horse raising, especially of the famous Morgan horse, have been steadily increasing during recent years.
Vermont has hundreds of roadside farm stands, and dozens of farmers markets. It has the most farmers markets per capita than any other state. The farms in its rural communities provide a sense of place, an identity and a connection to land and heritage that is invaluable to Vermonters. As one farmer put it, "Vermont without farms could still be a good place, but it could never be Vermont."
The agency has four divisions, administration, agricultural development, agriculture resource management and evironmental stewardship, food safety and consumer protection, that serve Vermont agriculture.