Dairy industry task force looks at ways to set Vermont apart
MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - State leaders, lawmakers and agriculture experts are mulling over ag industry data from the last decade and deciding where to put time and energy going forward.
Over the past few decades, Vermont’s dairy sector has taken a few hits among declining commodity prices, shrinking demand and stress from the pandemic.
But industry experts say Vermont is a leader in specialty and value-added products.
They say investing in high-quality products will set Vermont apart from larger operations in Texas, Arizona and California.
“If you look at Cabot, for example, they produce everything from shredded mozzarella pizza cheese that my son likes to eat by the handful out of the bag all the way up to the clothbound cave-aged cheddar that they make in collaboration with Jasper Hill. So they’re meeting all sorts of consumer preferences and needs and shipping their products around the U.S.,” said Laura Ginsburg of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture’s Development Division.
The discussion comes against the backdrop of a new report from the auditor that the state spent more than a quarter of a billion dollars supporting the industry.
But ag officials say dairy returns $2 billion to the state annually.
Legislation from 2020 requires the Department of Financial Regulation to submit an evaluation of the long-term sustainability of dairy farming in the state under current regulatory and market conditions.
In response to those recommendations, a task force was established to develop legislation.
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