The Vermont Farm Viability Program announced today the award of $95,000 in grants and $62,700 in technical assistance awards to Vermont farmers to assist them in implementing their farm business plans completed through the program. In this latest round of funding, 21 farmers around the state received grants ranging from $650 to $7,000. An additional 21 farmers received technical assistance awards ranging from $700 to $4,000 to cover the cost of consulting with specialists. Among the implementation grants presented:Manchester Center – At Earth Sky Time Community Farm, Oliver and Bonnie Levis grow vegetables and orchard fruits and run a commercial kitchen to make value-added products such as breads, spreads, pickles, and a new product, the VT Goldburger, a veggie burger made with Vermont produce. Following completion of their business plan in 2009, Oliver and Bonnie applied for a Farm Viability Implementation Grant in November 2010 to upgrade their farmstand and to purchase veggie burger production equipment. They were awarded $7,000 towards a total project cost of $20,000. After purchasing the equipment, Oliver said, ‘Though we have been making VT Goldburgers in our farm kitchen for several years, we had neither the equipment we needed to ramp up production or a clear understanding of what the veggie burgers cost us to make. The Farm Viability Program helped us get a handle on the finances of the project, and the grant funding for equipment purchase made our regional product launch a reality. We are thrilled that VT Goldburgers are now available in 15 natural food co-ops in Vermont, New York and Massachusetts. Thanks to this program we are utilizing thousands of pounds of organic VT grown produce and supporting our farm with year-round income.’Hinesburg – Linsday Harris and Evan Reiss own The Family Cow Farmstand, a small grass-based dairy farm. They sell state-certified raw milk directly to customers from their farmstand and by delivery. Lindsay and Evan started Family Cow in 2008. They wrote a business plan through the Farm Viability Program in 2010. They applied for an Implementation Grant in November 2010 to renovate their milk room and improve the milk handling system. They were awarded $4,000 in February towards the $8,676 project, quickly set to work, and completed the project in April. The grant helped to fund a new sink, bulk tank, dishwasher, floor, and washable ceiling. Lindsay said of the renovations, ‘We are really happy with how our project came out. It has already made our day-to-day farming operation a lot safer, easier and cleaner.’Three of the farmers receiving technical assistance awards to work with specialists were: Ray Shatney and Janet Steward (Greenfield Highland Beef, Plainfield and Greensboro Bend) received an award to cover development of promotion materials for the farm and consultation on their watering system;Reynolds and Celia Hackett (Hackett’s Orchard, South Hero) will receive consulting on the intergenerational transfer of their orchard;An award to Jeremy Michaud (Clair-A-Den Farm, East Hardwick) will cover the costs of construction engineering for a new on-farm value-added processing facility, Kingdom Creamery of Vermont. The Farm Viability Program accepts applications for business planning assistance quarterly. To request an application, call 802 828 3370 or see www.vhcb.org/viability.html(link is external). Farmers who complete business plans with the program are eligible to apply for implementation grants to help with capital expenses or additional technical support to launch new on-farm projects identified in the business planning process. The technical assistance awards pay for consultants to work one-on-one with farmers to further the goals of the business plan, such as meeting with crop or animal health specialists, planning for new farm enterprises, estate or farm transfer, or to develop ideas for value-added processing, for instance. There is a $75 fee to enroll in the Vermont Farm Viability Enhancement Program. Aside from this enrollment fee, business planning and technical assistance services are provided free of charge if your farm is chosen to participate. The Farm Viability Enhancement Program is funded by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board in collaboration with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, with funding assistance provided by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), USDA Rural Development and private foundations, including the John Merck Fund. In addition to private consultants contracting with the program, consultants are provided by the University of Vermont, the Intervale Center, and NOFA-VT. More than 350 Vermont farmers have used the services of the Farm Viability Program since it was established in 2003.
With no other silverware it has been a hugely underwhelming campaign and speculation over Pellegrini’s future is rife, but the Chilean is not letting the pressure get to him. The unflappable 61-year-old gives the impression he has seen most of it before having managed at hothouses such as River Plate and Real Madrid in a career that has taken in five countries. He said: “Why am I so sure? Because I have experience, you know when a squad is behind you when you are working, you know when you work well or work bad. “You can’t talk about decisions which are not your decisions but if you ask me why I’m not afraid; because there are two things in my whole career – I have never been a coward and I am not afraid.” Pellegrini refused to go into detail when asked about his future at a press conference to preview Sunday’s derby at Manchester United. The former Villarreal and Malaga boss is not thought to be under immediate threat but a review of the season will be carried out by the club’s hierarchy at the end of the campaign. Pellegrini feels his side – who drew level at the top with Chelsea on New Year’s Day – have just hit a bad run and maintains they are a strong unit. He said: “I am not talking about my future because it is not important. I am just thinking about the game against Manchester United. “We have to improve because we are not winning but we are the most attacking team, the team that has most possession of the ball, we don’t concede many goals. “I think the players are happy in the way we work and the way we play. I don’t see any problems inside the club. “You never know what will happen in August and at the end of the season but, if you ask me, I am not afraid because I think we are in the correct way but a bad moment.” City have won just four of their last 11 Premier League games and also gone out of the FA Cup and Champions League during that timespan. In his analysis of performances, Pellegrini has often suggested that he does not feel there is much wrong with his team. But he is well aware that, if he does survive, there could be a big summer ahead. Despite all the narrow defeats where he has felt his team has been unlucky, he recognises that the squad could need some significant remodelling. He said: “We must improve a lot of things. We are not doing all wrong – but we must improve. “I analyse the games and we have a lot of possession – I don’t remember many saves from Joe Hart and we are defending well, but we must improve our movement because we are playing always against eight, nine or 10 men behind the ball. We are not doing enough in that moment to score the goals. “We are not doing it all badly but we must improve our attacking play. We need to create more chances. We are creating a lot but we cannot win, so maybe we need to create double.” Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini remains confident in his position – because he has “never been a coward”. Pellegrini is under intense scrutiny at the Etihad Stadium with his side’s Barclays Premier League title defence apparently in ruins. Monday’s disappointing loss at Crystal Palace has left the champions fourth in the table and trailing leaders Chelsea, who have a game in hand, by nine points. Press Association
Red Devil Number 6 is experiencing a complicated season where an ankle injury has had almost the entire campaign in the dry dock. Pogba was operated in early January and its withdrawal is lengthening more weeks than Solskjaer claimed in public. So far this campaign, He has only played seven of 25 days in the Premier and one match in the Carabao Cup.The possible destiny of Paul Pogba is a mystery. Madrid no longer has so much interest in the French after the irruption of Fede Valverde this campaign and a return to Juventus appears as the most likely option. Paul Pogba remains the great protagonist in Old Trafford. The Mancunian team can not count on its big star on the green and also, it intends that the remaining months until the market opens are the last to play for Manchester United.According to the English press, the club has assumed that Paul Pogba wants to leave Manchester and, although he has lowered the 200 million he asked for last summer, he will not let it come out just like that. Mino Raiola, agent of the French international, will have to find a team that puts 175 million euros on the table. If no club that joins the bid arrives at that price, for now, United will not let Paul Pogba out for less money.