State seeks ways to boost rural economy

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copyright the Chronicle October 4, 2017

 

by Tena Starr

 

BARTON — Bleak as the picture for dairy so often is in Vermont, it’s the decline of the state’s forestry industry that people wanted to talk about Tuesday at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on farming, forestry, and the rural economy. The Barton meeting drew about a dozen people.

The commissioners of agriculture and forests, parks, and recreation were present, as was the deputy commissioner of forests, parks and recreation.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Bobby Starr of North Troy said the committee is traveling around Vermont listening to ideas about how to improve the rural economy.

“It’s important for us to hear what you folks would like us to do,” he said. “Believe it or not, we work for you.”

“We are going to take all the comments and ideas and try to come up with a few pieces of legislation that will help rural Vermont and outlying areas,” Mr. Starr said.

The meeting also provided information about what is already being done.

Agriculture Commissioner Anson Tebbetts said he actually had some good news to report.

Many Vermonters who work in agriculture attend the annual Big E fair in Massachusetts in the hope of acquiring new and bigger markets, Ms. Tebbetts said.

Visitors to exhibits on Vermont Day were at an all time high, he said. He said there were 171,897 visitors on just the one day. Put that in perspective, he said, and that’s like one-fifth of Vermont was there.

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Bleak outlook for forestry industry

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copyright the Chronicle August 2, 2017

 

by Tena Starr

 

Nearly 50 years ago, a few weeks out of high school, Ken Davis had a tiff with his farmer father that set him on a new career course. Instead of a farmer, he became a logger.

And for nearly half a century that’s pretty much how he’s made his living.

Until recently, that is, when the venerable logging industry went to pieces, especially in the Northeast Kingdom.

“I gave it up over a year ago,” Mr. Davis said in a recent interview. “I logged for 48 years. It’s pretty bleak out there from a logger’s point of view.  I couldn’t make a profit anymore.”

He still operates a logging station in Hardwick, meaning he takes in wood from loggers, then finds a market and distributes it.  But even that has become increasingly precarious, he said.

“We aren’t sure what the future is going to bring. We did find a pine market up in Maine. That’s helped us. We’re still in business, but it’s a dire situation.”

 

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Foresters talk stewardship at Craftsbury Outdoor Center

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copyright the Chronicle September 28, 2016

by Paul Lefebvre.

CRAFTSBURY — To see the forest and not the trees could have dire consequences for the landowner who wants to be a good steward of the land and pass the fruits of his or her labor onto future generations.

That was one of the take-aways from a conversation among foresters, landowners and citizens here last week at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center.

The discussion was the latest in a Summer Forestry Series focusing on land that constitutes the watershed of the Black River. As one of the organizers of the series, Orleans County Forester Jared Nunery said in an interview this week that the series has explored bedrock, soil types, and what he called the nuts and bolts of the watershed’s ecological system. Tuesday’s talk added human beings to the mix.

Henry Cold, a landowner, warned his listeners that while society has passed laws to protect land uses, it still lacks a land ethic. He said that landowners’ privileges have not been matched with landowners’ obligations when it comes to recognizing the forest as a community in which human beings are only members.

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Forestry bills go after the bad guys

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copyright the Chronicle February 24, 2016

by Tena Starr

MONTPELIER — Legislation aimed at pinching the bad guys in the forestry business, while protecting the good guys from nuisance suits and dust-ups with zoning laws, is winding its way through the Vermont House at the moment.

In its current form, it would affect not only loggers, but also landowners who use loggers, and the mills that buy from loggers.

Orleans County loggers are leery of the legislation, but Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation Michael Snyder views it as a tool aimed at protecting loggers’ right to do business.

H.584, which has an identical counterpart in the Senate, started out as one big bill, but has since been broken into pieces in the House so it can more easily pass through committees. And it’s rapidly changing as it proceeds.… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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