Quantcast

UVM scales back cheesemaking program - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

UVM scales back cheesemaking program

Posted: Updated:
SHELBURNE, Vt. -

Nat Bacon makes about 500 pounds of cheddar a day for Shelburne Farms. But this head cheesemaker got his start at UVM's Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese, the nation's first and only center devoted to the craft.

"Vermont now is known for having this great abundance of cheesemakers, the most cheesemakers per capita of any state. And VIAC's education and expertise in cheese has helped a lot with that," Bacon said.

The program started in 2004 and helped a fledgling industry thrive in Vermont, teaching nearly 900 students about the art and science of cheesemaking. These workshops were funded, in part, through a federal earmark grant and tuition covered the rest. It was a model that worked well until fiscal year 2012 when those federal dollars ran out.

"We've been working with the staff to turn red ink into black. We've been unsuccessful," said Thomas Vogelmann, the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at UVM.

To cover its deficit, the Institute offered more courses, but then couldn't fill the classrooms. The dean says the number of novices needing introductory help has dropped, forcing the institute to scale back operations.

"If you're not changing, you're not adapting," Vogelmann said.

These financial challenges come at the same time a former employee is being investigated by UVM police. The department would not comment on camera, but told WCAX News it's looking into allegations an employee misused institute funds. The chief said at this point it's unclear if any crimes have been committed.

"We have a process in place that guarantees that everything will be done fairly and equitably," Vogelmann said.

The dean learned of these allegations last summer. An audit is currently being conducted. But he claims the alleged financial mismanagement did not cause program cutbacks. In May, the Institute will morph its mission, reducing course offerings to focus on research and consultation work.

"Science doesn't just stop because we change our focus. We'll be tackling issues as they arise," Vogelmann said.

"I feel like there's always a process of learning and improving," Bacon said.

After six years of cheesemaking, Bacon still says he's got a lot to learn and hopes the Institute will be there to keep his cheddar skills sharp.

One staff member will be laid off when the program shifts directions in May.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • N.H. man killed in Lunenburg crash

    N.H. man killed in Lunenburg crash

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-09-02 03:33:55 GMT
    One man is dead following a tractor trailer rollover in Lunenburg.
    One man is dead following a tractor trailer rollover in Lunenburg.
  • 2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:15 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:15:25 GMT
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
  • Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:59 PM EDT2014-09-02 01:59:03 GMT
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
  • Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:08:26 GMT
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
  • Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:59:21 GMT
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
  • Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:51:52 GMT
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
  • Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:32:03 GMT
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
  • Body discovered in Massena

    Body discovered in Massena

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:02 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:02:43 GMT
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.