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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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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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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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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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Breaking news: Feds target Vermont dairy farms for illegal foreign workers

Posted on November 19, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



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

The Vermont Department of Agriculture on Thursday said ICE had targeted at least 86 farms for inspection, and Dairy Farmers Working Together reported between 86 and 100 farms were being issued subpoenas for employment records.

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Gardeners fend off late blight

Posted on November 2, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



ADDISON COUNTY — Tomato season has come and gone, but late blight — a fungal disease that infected many tomato and potato crops in Vermont this summer — is still on the minds of many gardeners this fall.

As farmers and gardeners put their plots to bed, they’re taking care to make sure the blight, credited with causing the Irish potato famine of the 1840s, won’t spread to next year’s crops.

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Fingers to the bone: As demand for local meat grows, processors feel the crunch

Posted on October 29, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



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Editor’s note: In the second of two installments looking at slaughterhouses in Vermont, we’re taking a look today at the growing market for local meats, the challenges facing small meat producers, and the ways farmers are trying to make meat production more profitable. See the first article in the series here.

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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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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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