1 Jan

Vermont farmers to benefit from $157,700 in grants and technical assistance

first_imgThe 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.last_img read more

17 Dec

Republican plan still leaves credit union tax exemption at risk

first_img 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » The Republican tax reform blueprint released Wednesday does not specify how tax cuts in the plan would be paid for, so credit unions that are carefully guarding their tax exemption aren’t out of the woods yet.The plan would cut taxes for businesses, the middle class and the wealthy. It also preserves some of the public’s favorite tax credits.The plan was developed by the Trump Administration and Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee. It is designed to serve as a “a template for the tax-writing committees that will develop legislation through a transparent and inclusive committee process,” according to the nine-page document.At the end of the document, there is a section entitled, “Tax Rules Affecting Specific Industries.”last_img read more

12 Jan

Govt now promising increase in Private Sector minimum wage

first_imgWith elections looming…amidst hundreds of broken, unfilled promisesAs the anticipation of early General and Regional Elections looms heavily over Guyana, the ruling A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition is slowly slipping into elections mode and has begun reintroducing promises it failed to fulfil after being elected to office over four years ago.This time, that promise comes in the form of a proposed increase in the minimum wage for Private Sector employees. According to the Social Protection Ministry’s Labour Department, headed by Minister Keith Scott, minimum wage in the Private Sector is set to receive another boost as consultations for the increase are in progress.The current Private Sector minimum wage stands at $44,200 after it was increased from $35,000 in 2017.The Labour Department’s consultant, Francis Carryl, said that the economy is vastly changing which makes it critical for Private Sector employees to receive another increase.“We’re not sure when the consultations will be completed but we are working assiduously to raise the Private Sector’s minimum wage, to bring it up to speed with the 2019 economic circumstances. We don’t want to excite anyone but all the parties including the unions, employers and the Government are interested with what has been brought to the table. As soon as the consultations are completed we will announce the increase,” Carryl said in a statement.The Labour Department boasts about recording “notable achievements” during the first quarter of 2019 in the form of the establishment of three new offices in Regions Two, Eight and Nine. These offices, according to the Department, will provide residents with access to services on a regular basis.InspectionsAdditionally, to date, the Labour Department has investigated in excess of 500 complaints and conducted about 300 to 400 workplace inspections. During the inspections, some persons who were caught in violation of the labour laws were sensitised and given opportunities to make corrections. On the other hand, others were placed before the court.Sensitisation workshops and training exercises were hosted by the Department, focusing on the introduction of the Decent Work Country Programme, which Guyana signed on to at the end of 2018. Currently, the Department is continuing its collaboration with the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) for the transformation from an informal to formal economy.Though the Department continues to boast of the strides made, the work continues to be overshadowed by sporadic outbursts from subject Minister Scott. Just last year, after salary and benefits negotiations between the Education Ministry and the Guyana Teachers’ Union failed, resulting in countrywide strikes, Scott referred to the striking educators as “selfish and uncaring”.This prompted a number of trade unions, organisations and civil society to call for President David Granger to tame Scott.The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) in a statement had said “Minister Scott seems to have a penchant for crass conduct. This is not the first time the trade union community had cause to draw attention to and condemn same, the last most contentious being in December 2016 in the National Assembly during the debates on the National Budget. The tendency to say whatever comes to his mouth, regardless of the impact, and irrespective of his role as the political voice of the Government on issues pertaining to Labour, is of concern”.The calls initially fell on deaf ears but Scott later apologised for his outburst.When it comes to fulfilling its promises, Government seems to be lost since they were elected as the champions of change. In the coalition’s 2015 manifesto, jobs for youths and overhauling the education system were placed as priority items but to date, the Government is yet to provide a tangible manifestation of those promises.According to the APNU/AFC manifesto “We (the APNU/AFC) believe that to keep the sugar industry viable, we will have to create ways to retain whatever manual labour is left and to diversify the industry…”ShelvedHowever, the Government ended up spending millions in a Commission of Inquiry, shelved the report, closed four estates and placed over 7000 sugar workers on the unemployment spectrum. To date, they continue to grapple to come up with a contingency plan and provide gainful employment for the retrenched workers.The coalition Government, in its manifesto, promised increased access to jobs for youths and improved education but that seems far from the reality of the present.Article 27 of the Constitution says “Every citizen has the right to free education from nursery to university as well as at non-formal places where opportunities are provided from education and training”.Nevertheless, Guyanese, particularly youths, are forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition fees to attend the rapidly deteriorating University of Guyana since that is the only tertiary institution in Guyana. UG continues to raise its tuition fees with students not getting any tangible benefits. Washrooms and classrooms are in deplorable conditions yet students are forced to pay some $50,000 in facilities fees in addition to their increased tuition fees.Additionally, there are no guarantees of jobs when one graduates from the University.On Wednesday, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo borrowed the idea of supporting free tertiary education from the People’s Progressive Party. He was later called out by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo for the act.last_img read more

29 Dec


first_imgA site which originally had a price tag of more than half a million euro has been put back on the market for just €25,000 in Letterkenny.The .6 acre site on the corner of Glencar Road and College Farm Road is due for auction in the coming weeks.The site was originally bought during the property boom for more than half a million euro with a view to putting townhouses on the site. The development never emerged and the property bubble began to burst.Now the site has been put on the market by auctioneers Sherry Fitzgerald Rainey and is set to attract huge interest.The site is a rare chance for housebuilders to acquire a rare site in the heart of Letterkenny in one of the town’s most sought-after and mature areas.The sale of the site is subject to planning permission. The auction will take place on November 10th on site. HALF MILLION LETTERKENNY SITE GOES ON MARKET FOR JUST €25K was last modified: October 15th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:auctionCOLLEGE FARM ROADGlencar Roadletterkennypropertysitelast_img read more