Opinion: Agri-Mark officials tout benefits of gas pipeline
On behalf of Agri-Mark, Inc., I would like to express our very strong, continued support for the extension of the natural gas pipeline from Chittenden County to Middlebury.
As many know, we use a lot of propane at our cheddar cheese and whey protein plant on Exchange Street in Middlebury, due largely to the dryers we use to dry the proteins we extract from the cheese whey stream. The expansion of the pipeline to Middlebury will enable our business to save more than $1 million per year for our dairy farmer-owners and utilize a much cleaner, safer and dependable energy source.
Agri-Mark elected to make the switch to natural gas during 2014 in anticipation of the significant savings that would result from transitioning away from fuel oil and propane. We’ve already captured some of those benefits from natural gas truck deliveries, but anticipate significant additional savings and operational security and benefits when the pipeline is constructed.
In addition, most of our Cabot cheeses are sold nationally, so our cheese plant in Vermont competes directly with other cheese facilities from around the U.S. Here in New England, we have some of the highest costs in the nation for land, energy, labor, taxes, insurance, electricity and raw milk. We are constantly looking for ways to lower our manufacturing costs to remain competitive nationally and grow our business. Reducing our costs for energy will help us achieve that goal.
We also believe the natural gas pipeline project will help stimulate the economy in Vermont and enhance the state’s ability to attract new business and jobs to the area. I hope that the state’s residents will consider these points as the natural gas pipeline project continues.
Robert D. Wellington
Senior Vice President of Economics, Communications & Legislative Affairs