Former ag secretary to talk dairy history

MIDDLEBURY — In recognition of Dairy Month, Roger Allbee, former Vermont secretary of agriculture, will present a talk on the history of dairy in Vermont on Friday, June 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Sheldon Museum in Middlebury. The talk is presented in conjunction with the Sheldon’s current exhibit “From Dairy to Doorstep,” a partnership with Historic New England. Admission is free but donations are welcome.
Allbee is chair of the University of Vermont College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Advisory Board. He was Vermont secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets under Gov. Jim Douglas and in 2012 was inducted into the Vermont Agricultural Hall of Fame. Allbee was an early advocate for buying local and direct from the farmer. He received his B.S. in agricultural economics from the University of Vermont, and a master’s in agricultural economics from the University of Massachusetts. He has completed the Cornell University Agricultural Executives Program, and the Harvard Business School Agribusiness Seminars.
Allbee’s career in agriculture includes a stint as executive director of the USDA Farm Services Agency for the state of Vermont and a longtime consultant in agribusiness and international trade. He co-founded AGTECH, an agricultural trade and export concern that was the first U.S. company to market cranberries and cranberry products in Hungary and the Czech Republic. As secretary of agriculture, Allbee administered one of the agencies with the most diverse and publically watched responsibilities in the state of Vermont. Under his leadership, the agency oversaw animal health and welfare; agricultural development, weights and measures; water quality and nutrient management; invasive and exotic pests and pesticide certification; seed, feed, and fertilizer testing; milk and meat processing inspection/certification and food safety; and international trade and policy.
It has been said that his work on the Vermont housing and conservation board brought a “working landscape” perspective to farmland conservation. He linked tourism and economic development to agriculture in a very public way.
Among his many affiliations, previously he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives committee on agriculture and executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency in Vermont. Albee developed strong relationships with Quebec and France — both of which celebrate and promote their place-based foods. He was lauded as among the first to envision that application for Vermont products.
Allbee was also vice president and senior staff of the former Farm Credit Banks of Springfield and a Cornell University Extension specialist. Today he is a senior scholar in residence and adviser on agriculture and food systems to the president of Vermont Technical College, an author, and an opinion columnist of the well-known “What Ceres Says” blog. Allbee resides in Townshend.
For more information about the exhibit and related programs, visit www.henrysheldonmuseum.org or call 802-388-2117.

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