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Four Hills Farm plans cowpower

Posted on May 20, 2010 |
By Kathryn Flagg



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BRISTOL — One of Addison County’s largest farms has secured a $250,000 grant to put toward the construction of an on-farm methane digester to convert manure into electricity.

Bristol’s Four Hills Farm was received the grant from the Clean Energy Development Fund, which last week announced more than $3 million in grants and low-interest loans for 15 Vermont renewable energy projects.  

Brian Hill, who co-owns the farm with Kevin, Ronald and Joanne Hill, said the farmers have been considering installing a methane digester for about eight years.

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Orwell family keeps farm alive, fields open

Posted on May 10, 2010 |
By Kathryn Flagg



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ORWELL — The decision to go to auction didn’t come easily to the Barnes family, longtime dairy farmers at Red Sky Farm in Orwell. But a silver lining to the family’s choice to leave the dairy industry in 2004 is a budding farm stand that has ensured the exodus of cows hasn’t given way to fallow agricultural land.

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Dairy giants accused of monopoly

Posted on May 6, 2010 |
By Kathryn Flagg



ADDISON COUNTY — Dairy farmers in the Northeast are training their sights on the massive Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) co-op and processing giant Dean Foods in an effort to prove that price fixing and illegal monopolization of the dairy industry has kept milk prices artificially low for struggling producers.

These farmers’ action represents the latest in a series of lawsuits around the country alleging that a lack of competition in the dairy processing industry has resulted in record profits for milk processors at the cost of lower prices for farmers.

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Welch unveils legislation to curb volatility in milk prices

Posted on April 19, 2010 |
By Kathryn Flagg



FAIRFAX, Vt. — Rep. Peter Welch on Friday unveiled long-awaited legislation that could, if passed, create a “growth management program” for the U.S. dairy industry that supporters hope would curb the volatile highs and lows of the federal milk pricing system.

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Dairy looks to bottle own milk

Posted on March 29, 2010 |
By Kathryn Flagg



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NORTH FERRISBURGH — One North Ferrisburgh dairy farm is considering reviving the dwindling tradition of bottling and marketing its own milk in the hopes of escaping the economic uncertainty of the bulk milk market.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Feds scrutinize dairy farms in sweep for illegal aliens

Posted on November 23, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



ADDISON COUNTY — Some Vermont dairy farmers found themselves in the crosshairs of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Thursday when the agency rolled out its largest ever audit of employers in a crackdown on businesses shirking laws about employing foreign workers.

Reports Friday from the Addison County Migrant Workers Coalition and other farmers indicated that perhaps only four or five farms in the state would be issued subpoenas for employment records, though initial reports about the audits placed that number much higher.

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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.

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