The Vermont Dairy Industry brings $2.2 Billion in economic activity to Vermont annually, according to a new study funded by the Vermont Dairy Promotion Council. Findings from the study were unveiled Thursday at the Vermont Farm Show in Essex. Recognizing the need for up-to-date data about dairy’s impact on Vermont’s economy, the Vermont Dairy Promotion Council partnered with the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, and Castleton Polling to quantify the impact of the industry on Vermont’s economy and way of life.
How well do you know your state? If you’re in the hospitality industry, it pays to know everything you can about Vermont. The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing has created a new series of online classes for employees at Vermont lodgings and attractions. The online Ambassador Training program focuses on Vermont branding, state parks, history, heritage and more. Ambassador Training also offers valuable customer service tips, and insight into consumer trends such as agritourism and culinary travel.
Darn Tough Vermont, American manufacturer of the fastest growing collection of outdoor performance socks, has partnered with Special Olympics Vermont for the 2015 Penguin Plunge and Winter Games events. In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Penguin Plunge, sponsor Darn Tough Vermont will provide complimentary pairs of wool socks to Plungers who raise $520 or more. Darn Tough will also outfit all 200 Special Olympics Vermont athletes who compete in the 2015 Winter Games.
Cynthia Stuart has been named deputy commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation’s Banking Division, Commissioner Susan L Donegan announced today. Stuart has more than 18 years of experience in both the retail and community aspects of banking and brings to the job a wealth of knowledge of current operations and senior management.
Vermont will receive $90,000 from Main Street Power Mail, Inc, of Sheridan, Indiana, which generated leads for insurance agents by sending direct mailings to Vermonters, many of them elderly, asking for personal information without explaining how the information would be used. Such activity is a violation of state and federal law. Under the settlement, Main Street Power Mail will pay the State $90,000 and be required to clearly disclose the purpose of its mailings in the future.
Vermont Business Magazine The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has revised the US Standards for Grades of Maple Syrup. The revision defines quality factors and establishes new color determinations for Grade A. The grade of syrup will be determined based on flavor, odor, damage, and turbidity or cloudiness. Further, the spelling of the product in the standard was changed from “sirup” to “syrup.” The four new categories will be more descriptive. Vermont revised its grading system last year and the USDA likewise wants to standardize it across the nation.
The Addison County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC) has approved financing that will allow Middlebury-based start-up Stonecutter Spirits, based in Middlebury, to begin production. Robin Scheu, Executive Director of ACEDC, confirmed her organization will use its revolving loan funds to lend $100,000 to the local gin and whiskey manufacturer. This financing is part of a $500,000 project with additional funding coming from Opportunities Credit Union and the National Bank of Middlebury.
by Rob Roper The Vermont legislature has long been bent on saving the planet through government micromanagement of energy policy. The big issue this year appears to be passing a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that would require utilities to sell a set percentage renewable power (and thereby forcing customers buy the more expensive product). The other issue, likely debated but not moved on this year, is a Carbon Tax designed to make fossil fuel use artificially expensive.
Senate Republicans today shot down a proposal by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) to help install up to 10 million solar power systems for homes and businesses in the coming decade. Rebates for solar systems would have been authorized by a Sanders amendment to a Keystone XL oil pipeline bill now before the Senate.
by Ron Miller The Vermont Council on Rural Development is holding a major statewide conference, “Creating Prosperity & Opportunity Confronting Climate Change,” in Randolph on February 18. The gathering will launch VCRD’s new Climate Change Economy initiative, which aims to stimulate the growth of small businesses that can prosper by addressing various aspects of the climate change scenario.
Image Outfitters, an advertising specialties company has implemented a new product portal on their website that makes it easy for companies to make responsible choices when searching for branded merchandise that is ‘Sustainable’, ‘Recycled’ or ‘Made in the USA’. Image Outfitters is the first and only advertising specialties company in the United States to become a certified B Corporation and has been championing social responsibility through their iShare Charitable Donations Program.
Doppler on Wheels (DOW) returns to the Lyndon State College campus for a three-week stint beginning January 29. It’s rare for the DOW to make a return trip to a campus; this is the third visit in five years.