MIDDLEBURY - Secretary of Agriculture Roger Allbee announced last week that long-time agency employee and director of the Agricultural Resource Management and Environmental Stewardship (ARMES) division has retired from the agency.
"Since Phil came on board here at the agency, he has been a champion and tireless advocate for the farming community and agriculture in our state," said Allbee. "He has been a close advisor and friend to me and he will be missed personally and professionally."
"It's been a great pleasure to have had the opportunities I have had at the Agency of Agriculture. Perhaps the best part of the job has been working with a dedicated and passionate staff who have been committed, through the years, to advancing agriculture in our state while protecting our water and environment," said Benedict.
Benedict came to the agency in 1971 after graduating from Johnson State College with a degree in Biology and then receiving his Masters degree from the University of New Hampshire in Entomology. His first assignment with the agency was as an entomologist. Most recently his time was focused on improving Vermont's water quality.
He has been described as having more dedication and commitment to protecting agriculture and the environment than almost anyone. It has been noted that his foresight has allowed him to develop an agricultural water quality program for Vermont that is the envy of many other states. He has been known to push Vermont's regulatory and assistance programs to meet environmental standards while assisting farmers in meeting goals that society demands for our environment.
"I will forever be reminded of Phil as I drive through Vermont, appreciating the open fields and viable farms that are still part of our landscape. I believe Phil Benedict is a big reason we still have this opportunity," commented a fellow employee at the agency.
"Your years of service have been very much appreciated and your hard work is to be commended. A lot has changed in agriculture over the years and you have been instrumental in guiding those changes to be more farmer-friendly while increasing ways to protect the environment," commented Gov. Douglas at a reception held today in his honor at the agency.
Jim Leland, currently deputy director of the ARMES division has been chosen to fill the position of director. Benedict says his plans include spending more time with Susan, his wife of over 30 years, their son Dan, daughter-in-law Tracy and his grandson Alex, as well as pursuing interests such as fishing, hunting, skiing and golfing.