Farmers have reason to celebrate at Enosburgh dairy festival - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Farmers have reason to celebrate at Enosburgh dairy festival

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There is reason to celebrate in Enosburgh these days. In a town that relies on dairy farming to stir its economy, rising dairy prices mean more money for farmers, and more money for farmers means a healthier local economy.

The 58th annual Enosburgh Dairy Festival brings thousands to the streets of the small town to celebrate its bellwether industry. Whether the people also come for the parade, food or live music, they all come to celebrate the county’s biggest economic resource.

"It just affects the stability of the community because there are so many dairy related industries in the community, when the economy is down in the dairy industry it brings everything down with it,” said Paul Stanley, a dairy farmer in Enosburgh.

Dairy prices rose more than ten percent at the beginning of 2014 which meant consumers paid more at the store for a gallon of milk and farmers cashed in. Even as prices plateaued in May, Stanley says he still benefits from the elevated prices.

“That has been very beneficial to the dairy industry, the dairy farmers,” Stanley said. "We're in a situation where those prices are currently beginning to stabilize a little bit. They've come down some, but they're still holding in a pretty favorable line.”

Dairy economist Bob Wellington recently sat down with Channel 3 and explained why prices were rising.

“There is a tremendous amount of demand for dairy products and food in general in this country across the world,” Wellington said. “We found this winter that we actually had between 15 and 18 percent of the milk produced in this country was exported as other dairy products across the world. We have always been the bread basket for the world now we are starting to become the milk pitcher of the world and that's a good thing. It keeps up the demand and at a premium price."

In Enosburgh, Lions International has put on the dairy festival for 58 years, and it is their lone fundraising venture. As the festival includes music, various fried foods and even a parade, some hope the festival returns to its old traditions.

"It was 98 percent dairy,” said Arnold Royea, a volunteer for Lions International. “We want to go back to our roots and bring that old time feeling back.”

"Of course the dairy is very important for Franklin county and this whole area,” noted David Samson who attended the festival back in the 1950s.

The festival ends Sunday.

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