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Warm temps slow down sugarmaking

Posted on March 22, 2010 |
By Kathryn Flagg



ADDISON COUNTY — Spring is sprung!

While warm weather this weekend may have delighted most county residents, temperatures that pushed 60 degrees in parts of the region caused a bit of consternation from local sugarmakers, many of whom worried the warm spell could signal the end to a brief maple sugaring season this year.

full story

Sugaring time: Young men learn ancient art

Posted on March 8, 2010 |
By Kathryn Flagg



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ADDISON COUNTY — For most local maple syrup makers, each sugaring season is marked by something new. Prices fluctuate. Mother Nature is unpredictable. And now and then, there’s an advancement in the field of sugaring — like the “check valves” that many sugarmakers are using this year for the first time to increase production (see story, Page 18) — that changes the business of sugarmaking just enough to get everyone talking.

full story

Ag chief: consensus needed for dairy reform

Posted on February 18, 2010 |
By Kathryn Flagg



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BURLINGTON — In the first visit from the head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Vermont in 20 years, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack last weekend told Vermont’s struggling dairy farmers that changes in their industry are overdue, but that any reforms will need to come from farmers, not Washington.

The visit came at the end of what has been the hardest year in recent memory for Vermont farmers, who have been selling milk below the cost of production and taking out enormous loans to keep their farms in business.

full story

Changes to Current Use proposed

Posted on February 1, 2010 |
By Kathryn Flagg



ADDISON COUNTY — Budget woes could spell major changes for the state’s Use Value Appraisal Program, better known as “Current Use,” which is credited with preserving millions of acres of Vermont forestland and farmland from development.

Right now, the 32-year-old program is facing a one-year moratorium on new enrollments, higher penalties for landowners who withdraw land from Current Use to be developed, and a new property transfer tax that would be more in line with the rates applied to other property sales in the state.

full story

Agency of Agriculture lifts Quesnel suspension

Posted on January 14, 2010 |
By Andrea Suozzo



MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont Agency of Agriculture lifted the suspension on Bernard and Louis Quesnel’s livestock dealer license as of Jan. 4.

As reported in the Dec. 24 edition of the Independent, the brothers, who operate Quesnel Livestock out of farm off Route 7 North in Middlebury, had their dealer license suspended on Dec. 16 following an investigation into the sale of horses within the state without proper testing for Equine Infectious Anemia.

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full story

College panel looks at sustainable agriculture

Posted on January 11, 2010 |
By Kathryn Flagg



MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College kicked off a month-long look at sustainable agriculture last Thursday with a panel addressing questions about agriculture and higher education.

The panel — made up of Melina Shannon-DiPietro from the Yale Sustainable Food Project, Ben Waterman from the University of Vermont, Philip Ackerman-Leist from Green Mountain College, and Gregory Peck from Cornell University — was the first in a series of public discussions slated to take place in January.

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full story

State suspends Quesnel Livestock license

Posted on December 23, 2009 |
By Andrea Suozzo



MIDDLEBURY — On Dec. 16, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets suspended the dealer license of Middlebury livestock dealers Bernard and Louis Quesnel, who do business as Quesnel Livestock. The suspension comes at the end of a nearly month-long agency investigation of Quesnel Livestock for possession of improperly documented horses on their Route 7 North property.

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full story

Emergency aid arrives for local dairy farmers

Posted on December 21, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



ADDISON COUNTY — The U.S. Department of Agriculture late last week announced that emergency aid payments, approved by federal lawmakers earlier this fall, will soon be on their way to struggling dairy farmers.

The new Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment (DELAP) program will distribute $290 million to dairy farmers across the country. The funding is part of a $350 million dairy assistance measure Congress approved in October at the request of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

full story

Push for guest worker program revived

Posted on November 30, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



ADDISON COUNTY — Though the flurry of news and rumors regarding the federal government’s employment record audits in mid-November has died down, farmers and migrant workers alike are still fretting about what the immigration sweep could mean on Vermont dairy farms.

And, for some Addison County farmers and migrant workers advocates, the I-9 audit — meant to suss out employers shirking immigration laws — has spurred a renewed push for a guest workers program to legally supply dairy farmers with a source of foreign labor.

full story

Gearing up for Thanksgiving, the localvore way

Posted on November 23, 2009 | Blog Category:
By Kathryn Flagg



It's that time of year already! I spent a few hours last week calling around to local farmers, winemakers, and other food producers for a story in today's paper about celebrating Thanksgiving with locally grown foods. The good news is that it's not difficult to do: Plenty of local vegetables are still in season, and you can supplement those with wine or beer from a nearby vineyard or brewery, as well as cheese from our neighborly cheesemongers.

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