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On the auction block: Vermont's culled dairy cows head out of state to slaughter

Posted on October 26, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



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Editor’s note: In the first of two installments looking at slaughterhouses in Vermont, we examine what happens to the bulk of Vermont’s dairy cows — animals that are typically shipped out of state to be slaughtered. This Thursday, we’ll turn our attention to the growing market for local meats, the challenges facing smaller meat producers and slaughterhouses, and the creative solutions some farmers are exploring to make beef production more profitable.

full story

Sanders backs local foods, dairy changes

Posted on October 15, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



MIDDLEBURY — Addressing a crowd of around 50 farmers Monday night at the Middlebury American Legion, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., offered a few words of support for dairy farmers struggling to make a living: the dairy crisis isn’t a Vermont issue or a New England issue so much as a national one, and lawmakers are paying attention.

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Farmers push co-ops for dairy overhaul

Posted on October 12, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



ADDISON COUNTY — Farmers in Addison County may be rallying behind milk price stabilization plans, but some of the dairy co-ops that collect and market their milk have been slow to the table.

Now, frustrated by what Orwell farmer Tom Audet dubbed the “sluggish” response of dairy cooperatives, many of those farmers are chastising their co-ops for failing to take strong stands on supply management programs.

full story

Lawmakers push for local foods in state's schools

Posted on October 8, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



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ADDISON COUNTY — America’s next test kitchen may just be Vermont, if New Haven State Rep. Chris Bray has anything to say about it.

Arguing that a little state can be the perfect proving ground for new federal programs, Bray is eyeing a possible pilot project with the United States Department of Agriculture to help Vermont get more fresh, local foods into Vermont schools.

full story

"Cow Power" producers suffer losses

Posted on October 1, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



ADDISON COUNTY — Central Vermont Public Service’s “Cow Power” program, which enlists farms to convert manure to electricity using on-farm anaerobic digesters, has been lauded in recent years as a revolutionary way to generate renewable energy and support local farms.

But wholesale energy prices plummeted earlier this year. With Cow Power rates contractually tied to the price of wholesale energy, farmers participating in the fledgling program found themselves producing two commodities at a loss: milk and electricity.

full story

Orchards predict strong apple crop

Posted on September 24, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



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ADDISON COUNTY — Cool temperatures and plenty of sunshine herald good news for apple growers in Addison County.

Those conditions are paving the way for good color on this year’s crop of apples, as well as thick crowds at pick-your-own orchards in the region.

“It’s a very good crop,” said Bill Suhr, the owner of Champlain Orchards in Shoreham, and many orchardists in the region are reporting similar news. Pickers took to the field last month and will be busy harvesting the county’s apple crop well into October.

full story

Tough times push Addison dairy farm under

Posted on September 14, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



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ADDISON — At the entrance to the DeVries family’s Dairydale Farm in Addison, there’s a sign up announcing to passersby that this tidy spread is a Vermont “Dairy of Distinction.”

The sign may still be there, but the farm’s 150 cows are gone.

Sam and Dave DeVries, brothers and partners in the Dairydale operation, milked their herd one last time on an afternoon in mid-June, and then ambled outside among the large crowd to watch their livelihood go up for auction.

full story

Apiaries busy in their sweetest season

Posted on September 3, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



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MIDDLEBURY — For veteran beekeepers at Champlain Valley Apiaries in Middlebury, late summer is the sweetest season.

It’s now, after all, that a year’s worth of hard work pays off. Beekeepers last week began extracting honey from the business’s 1,200 colonies, which dot Vermont from Whiting north to the Canadian border. In a time when honeybees are falling prey to more and more stresses — like parasitic mites, pesticides and mono-crop diets — the act of making honey is a welcome reminder that in some places, like Vermont, honeybees are hanging on.

full story

Changes in the field: More women, young grads fill the shoes of retiring large animal vets

Posted on August 27, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



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ADDISON COUNTY — Annie Starvish has a suitor.

The heifer tags along as the veterinarian makes the rounds in the free stall barns at the Vorsteveld Farm in Panton, where she is out doing “preg checks.” Periodically, Starvish and farmer Rudy Vorsteveld throw their arms wide, corralling one of the heifers into a stall. Then, after a gentle, reassuring pat to the animal’s hip, Starvish inserts a gloved hand into the cow’s rectum. Soon after, her arm disappears entirely.

full story

Dairy farmers seek escape from volatile milk pricing

Posted on August 24, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



MIDDLEBURY — Inching toward consensus, Addison County dairy farmers last Thursday hunkered down over coffee and donuts at the American Legion in Middlebury to discuss a plan some dairymen hope could pave the way beyond dramatic highs and lows in milk prices.

full story

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