Helping small- and medium-sized businesses export their products is a cornerstone of the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014. The partnership between the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), non-profit U.S. agricultural trade organizations (called cooperators) and state regional trade groups (SRTGs) is essential to achieving that goal. The power of this partnership was clearly highlighted at the SIAL Canada trade show in Montreal, May 9-11, where the majority of the exhibitors at the USA Pavilion were small U.S. companies.
Among the SIAL Canada participants were the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM), and six Vermont food companies that produce products including artisan cheeses, croutons, jams, jellies, dips, sauces, specialty packaged maple syrups and premium spaghetti sauces. Although many of the companies are located less than an hour away from the Canadian border, few had previously considered exporting their products to Canada. Read more »
Value Added Producer Grant recipients in Vermont will use USDA support to increase on-farm production of dairy products. (Photo taken by a USDA employee)
It was a snow day in New England, but up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, in the little town of Hardwick, several people were gathered at the VT Food Venture Center, a local food incubator, to sign USDA Value Added Grant papers for the new businesses they are starting up.
The Michaud family of East Hardwick is launching Kingdom Creamery of Vermont, LLC. out of their newly finished processing facility on their dairy farm. They are producing ice cream, yogurt and a soft serve mix for local retailers. They received a USDA Value Added Producer grant for working capital purposes for marketing, processing and purchasing packaging and production inventory. Read more »
Mark Twery, a supervisory research forester on the Northern Research Station
How does a former dancer and theater technician end up in a career in forestry? Meet Mark Twery, a supervisory research forester on the Northern Research Station in Burlington, Vt., who is not only all of the above, but loves his unique job that incorporates forestry with dance. Read more »
Reduced Turbines on Western Ridge, Harriman Reservoir, Vermont. Photo courtesy of Iberdrola Renewables.
The U.S. Forest Service has approved construction of a wind energy facility on the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont. Read more »
Marla Emery works in the agency’s Research and Development’s People and Their Environments unit in Burlington, Vt.
Marla Emery looks at plantain – an ordinary weed to most people – with an eye on how some people will use it. After all, her work with the U.S. Forest Service as a research geographer leads her to interesting conversations with people who forage in rural and urban forests. Read more »
Last week, we welcomed Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan to Vermont as she toured farms to see recovery efforts after Tropical Storm Irene.
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan speaking with farmers at the Robb Family Farm near Brattleboro, VT.
Our first stop was the Wheeler Farm, a 100 acre 50-cow grass based farm just north of Wilmington, one of the hardest hit communities in the state. Visible water marks were higher than the historic flood of 1927 and hurricane of 1938. The group welcomed Deputy Secretary Merrigan on the porch of the historic farmhouse, which had just escaped the flood waters by a few inches. As we pulled onto the farm’s access road, a large grader and dump truck continued work to repair washed away segments. Read more »