The Vermont Economy

VPR's Steve Zind

VPR senior reporter Steve Zind focuses on the Vermont economy and its impact on our lives. Follow Steve Zind on Twitter, post comments on the stories, and let Steve know what local economy stories you think VPR should cover.

Some of the new duplexes that are part of the Hickory Street and Juneberry Lane Apartments, a $22 million affordable housing development in southwest Rutland.
Nina Keck / VPR

Rutland’s Forest Park housing project has been undergoing a $22 million affordable housing makeover that many say has turned a problem into an asset.

Railroad veteran Charlie Moore, left, has joined David Blittersdorf, right, in Blittersdorf's effort to establish commuter rail in Vermont.
Steve Zind / VPR

Wind developer David Blittersdorf has put millions of dollars into a plan to bring commuter train service back to Vermont, and the new service could begin as early as next year.

Howard Weisss-Tisman / VPR

Vermont grass-fed beef is in high demand, and if the market wants to continue to grow, there will have to be better collaboration in the industry.

At a news conference announcing Aspenti Health's new name, Gov. Phil Scott praised company officials for saving the company's 140 jobs, and for their continued work in drug prevention and treatment.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

The company formerly known as Burlington Labs has a new name: Aspenti Health.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

In Newport on Thursday, employees and company officials at Revision Military joined Sen. Patrick Leahy, Rep. Peter Welch and Gov. Phil Scott to celebrate a new federal contract.

Robbie Clark stands with some of his herd of milking cows in Ira. To avoid foreclosure, Clark and his mother, Mary Saceric-Clark, are selling their cows and farm equipment at a public auction on July 8.
Nina Keck / VPR

A sign out front the Milky Way Farm in Ira declares it a "Dairy of Distinction." But another sign may soon read "For Sale," as the family farm is facing foreclosure and must sell its equipment and cows at a public auction on July 8.

Jake Mendell and his fiance, Taylor Hutchison consider themselves lucky; the young farmers got their 30 acres of farm land from family.
Rebecca Sananes / Vermont Public Radio

Farming in Vermont is approaching a crossroads: The current generation of American farmers is nearing retirement. But for some young people looking to follow in those footsteps, financial barriers make a future in the field less affordable.

Janet and Jay Bailey, of Fair Winds Farm in Brattleboro, have operated a diversified horse-powered family farm for more than 40 years. The farm’s previous owner had donated the land to Earthbridge Community Land Trust, who later leased the land to the Baileys. In 2011, looking toward aging but wanting to ensure this land continue to be farmed, they formed an untraditional partnership.

John Silloway, David Silloway and Paul Lambert all have a hand in running their family's farm.
Courtesy: Silloway Farms

The number of dairy farms in Vermont continues to decline, with around 805 in business this spring.

While large farms, with more than 700 cows, are a growing sector of the dairy economy, small operations with fewer than 200 animals still make up 80 percent of the state’s dairy farms.

Cows on the Orr family's dairy farm, in Orwell, are pictured in this 2015 file photo. Anson Tebbetts, Vermont's agriculture secretary, spoke to VPR recently about Vermont's dairy industry and about challenges faced by the state's farmers.
Kathleen Masterson / VPR file

When Anson Tebbetts became Vermont's agriculture secretary earlier this year, he conducted a statewide listening tour to hear from farmers about the challenges they have been facing.

Jeff Hardy is general manager at Cersosimo Lumber in Brattleboro. Hardy says about 25 percent of the company's white piune goes to Canada, and the new tariff on imports could affect business.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The U.S. Commerce Department this week slapped a new round of tariffs on Canadian lumber coming into the states, and companies in Vermont are anxious to see how it could affect business.

The board responsible for regulating utility prices in Vermont is ordering a review of the state’s utility regulation system in Vermont, including the controversial regulatory model used by Green Mountain Power and Vermont Gas Systems for much of the past decade.

Director of Corporate Communication Jason Gorss confirmed Friday, "a small number of fab tools were impacted by a computer virus."
Steve Zind / VPR File

A computer virus recently infected a number of manufacturing tools at the GlobalFoundries plant in Essex Junction, a company spokesman confirmed Friday evening.

The Radio Vermont Group, which includes WDEV-AM in Waterbury, is for sale. Owner Ken Squier says at 82, he’s reached the age where he feels he must sell the stations.

Dannyone / iStock

With frequently wet and cool weather in Vermont this spring and summer, that's meant farmers have had to play catch up when it comes to planting crops and harvesting hay.

Lucas Benitez stands with other Coalition of Immokalee Workers members at the People's Root Cause March in 2004. Vermont advocates hope to use a strategy similar to the Coalition's to improve pay and working conditions for migrant dairy workers.
Courtesy / Coalition of Imokalee Workers

Migrant Justice and other advocates for Vermont dairy workers plan to march in protest on Saturday in an effort to pressure Ben & Jerry's to come to an agreement on wage negotiations. 

Vermont’s unemployment rate held at 3.1 percent in the month of May, according to the latest data from the state’s Department of Labor. The numbers show a loss of jobs in the construction and “Technical Services” sectors and new jobs added in “Administrative & Waste Services.”

Keurig Green Mountain is laying off up to 40 people across its Waterbury, Essex and South Burlington locations.

Bellows Falls wants to tear down the former Robertson Paper Mill and redevelop the property. A development group was awarded a $200,000 EPA grant Thursday, which will help begin remediation work on the former industrial site.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Brattleboro, Bellows Falls and Bennington will share $700,000 in Environmental Protection Agency cleanup funding to redevelop former industrial properties.

Tony Sutton, an EB-5 investor, is suing the State of Vermont for being complicit in multi-million-dollar fraud allegedly perpetrated by those in charge of Jay Peak.
Lisa Rathke / AP

A man who invested a $500,000 in Jay Peak through the federal EB-5 foreign investment program is suing the State of Vermont and accusing state officials of being complicit in multi-million-dollar fraud allegedly perpetrated by Jay Peak owner Ariel Quiros and CEO Bill Stenger.

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