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.

Syrup producer David Hall stands outside near Lac Brome, Québec.
Lorne Matalon / For VPR

While Vermont is by far the highest producing maple syrup state in the United States, 70 percent of the world's maple syrup is made in Québec.

And that's where the benchmark global price for bulk maple syrup — the price paid by processors to Vermont's maple syrup producers — is set each year by a powerful, but legal, cartel.

Bob Sabolefski, a small batch syrup producer in Stowe, pours sap from one bucket to another in the woods.
Lorne Matalon / For VPR

Demand for maple syrup and maple products is growing by about 6 to 8 percent per year globally. The prospect of that kind of return is drawing in investors to Vermont like moths to a flame.

Central Vermont Internet founder Jeremy Hansen answers questions about the proposal at town meeting in Berlin, where he also sits on the select board.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

With at least 12 towns voting in favor of forming a communications district so far, Central Vermont Internet will go forward. The idea is to bring publicly-run high-speed internet to those towns.

A group of friends from the Boston area spends a day at Killington recently.
Nina Keck / VPR

It may be too soon to say how this year’s ski season will ultimately turn out, but for many resorts and related businesses, the weather so far has been a frustrating roller coaster.

Rutland Regional Medical Center Names New CEO

Mar 2, 2018
provided

Rutland Regional Medical Center, the largest employer in Rutland County, has named a new president and CEO.

Jared and Corin / Flickr

Castleton University is eliminating two prominent positions as part of the university’s budget restructuring process.

David Moats sits in front of a microphone at VPR's Norwich studio.
Betty Smith / VPR

Earlier this week, the Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus newspapers eliminated the position of editorial editor. This ends the tenure of David Moats, who has been with the Herald since 1982. In 2001, he won a Pulitzer Prize for editorials he wrote in favor of same-sex civil unions in Vermont.

Dozens watched as crews began tearing down a dilapitated house in Rutland Monday. Green Mountain Power is teaming up with officials in Rutland and many local businesses to build a brand new energy efficient home that will be given away in a new contest.
Nina Keck / VPR

In Rutland, demolition crews began tearing down a dilapidated three-story dwelling which will soon be replaced with a brand-new 1,500-square foot, energy-efficient New England-style farmhouse.

And if all goes according to plan, it’ll be given away to a lucky winner in a nationwide contest.

Victoria Banerjee checks on a tank of wort, or unfermented beer, at Hermit Thrush Brewery in Brattleboro.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Vermont's craft brewers are asking lawmakers to update the state's franchise law because they say it unfairly benefits beer and wine distributors.

With temperatures bobbing and weaving above and below freezing, Vermont's backyard sugaring is going strong.
Bakinbitz / iStock

Vermonters catch a fever at this time of year. And it isn't necessarily the flu bug. It's the hankering to get outside and start hauling buckets full of sap to the sugarhouse or to wherever they do their boiling. It's backyard sugaring time.

The average smart phone is replaced roughly every 22 months, spurring calls across the country to protect customers' "right to repair" their electronics.
Bru-nO / Pexels

Have you ever tried fixing one of your electric gadgets? Even simply replacing the battery in your cell phone can require special skills or tools. You may not be allowed to do more advanced repairs without potentially voiding a warranty. That's led to demands across the country, including here in Vermont, for the "right to repair," the ability to perform basic repairs on items like smart phones, other electronics and more.

Randolph Center farmer David Silloway offers free milk samples at the annual Farm Show. An oversupply or organic milk has stalled Silloway's plans to earn a higher price for his product.
John Dillon / VPR

Organic dairy farmers are getting paid less because of an oversupply of their milk, a market glut that’s led one major organic buyer to delay signing on new farmers.

Stock image of fiber-optic cables.
kynny / iStock

At Town Meeting in March, 13 central Vermont communities will consider forming a communications union district, the sole purpose of which would be to bring fiber-optic internet service to the area.

Exterior of the Logic Supply building in South Burlington on a cloudy day.
Henry Epp / VPR

Among the proposals Gov. Phil Scott has made this year to expand Vermont’s workforce is adding more “enhancements” to the state’s signature business incentive program. But one top state official has long questioned a core principle of that program.

The Vermont Senate has voted for a bill that raises the state minimum wage to $15 an hour over a 6 year period
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

The Vermont Senate has given preliminary approval to legislation that increases the state minimum wage to $15 an hour over a 6 year period.

Nanci Leitch stands in the bedroom in her house in Guilford. There's a bed and a painting on the wall.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Lawmakers are debating a bill that would require people who use Airbnb, and other online short-term rental companies, to register with the state.

Tim Van Orden of Bennington wears a blue coat and runs on snowshoes through some snowy trees.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

This March, a national snowshoe race will make its way back to Vermont.

Snowshoe racing may not be in the Olympics (yet), but for one Bennington resident, the spectacle of hundreds of people racing through a winter wonderland on snowshoes just might be ready for primetime.

Climate researchers say a changing climate could mean, among other changes, more extremes of heat and cold for Vermont.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Vermont's climate is already changing, and experts say that could mean rising temperatures, wetter weather and more extremes for both heat and cold. But are there also opportunities to be seized as those changes unfold? 

Solar trackers installed in South Burlington in a field on a cloudy day are pictured in this July 27, 2011
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

A new economic analysis shows that Vermont lost 232 full-time jobs in the solar industry last year.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson says passage of a property tax reform package is a top priority for this session
Angela Evancie / VPR file

A proposal is being developed representing the first major change to education financing in Vermont in over a decade, and House Speaker Mitzi Johnson says she's committed to making it a reality.

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