YCQM: May 24, 2020

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE, I'M DARREN PERRON.
RIGHT NOW ON "YOU CAN QUOTE ME," LET THE CAMPING COMMENCE.
VERMONT PARKS GEARING UP TO ALLOW VISITORS AGAIN.
THE NEW RULES THEY AND YOU NEED TO FOLLOW.
THE NATURAL RESOURCES SECRETARY IS HERE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS.
PLUS FAILING FARMS, WE JUST GOT NEW NUMBERS ON CLOSINGS AND HOW MUCH DAIRY IS ON THE DECLINE.
PLUS STAGGERING SALES LOSSES FOR CHEESE MAKERS.
WE'LL BREAK IT DOWN FOR YOU WITH VERMONT'S AGRICULTURE SECRETARY.
PLUS HE'LL OUTLINE FINANCIAL HELP NOW AVAILABLE TO FARMS.
IT'S ALL PART OF THE GOVERNOR'S $400 MILLION STIMULUS PLAN TO DEAL WITH THE FINANCIAL FALLOUT FROM THE PANDEMIC.
WE'RE POURING OVER THE NUMBERS.
WE'LL TELL YOU WHICH INDUSTRIES GET THE MONEY, WITH CHANNEL 3'S POLITICAL REPORTER.
AND THAT'S WHERE WE BEGIN THIS MORNING.
IN THE TWO-PART PLAN, $250 MILLION IS EARMARKED FOR SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS AND LOANS.
THERE'S ALSO $50 MILLION FOR HOUSING ASSISTANCE.
A SECOND PHASE WILL FUNNEL 90 MILLION INTO LONGER TERM ECONOMIC INVESTMENTS.
CALVIN CUTLER DIVES DEEPER INTO THE NUMBERS.
>> THE TWO MONTH SHUTDOWN OF VERMONTS ECONOMY HAS PUMMELED NEARLY EVERY BUSINESS SECTOR.
EVEN AS SOME ARE GETTING WALK TO WORK, MANY BUSINESSES REMAIN SHUTTERED, LAYING OFF EXPLOSION OR CLOSING FOR GOOD.
>> I KNOW YOU'RE ALL SCARED, SAD, AND PROBABLY PRETTY ANGRY.
>> REPORTER: UNEMPLOYMENT AND FEDERAL STIMULUS PROGRAMS HAVE PUMPED CASH INTO THE ECONOMY, NOW THE STATE IS ADDING TO THE RELIEF.
GOVERNOR SCOTT IS PITCHING A $HAD HUNDRED MILLION STIMULUS TANK, IT STARTS WITH 250 MILLION IN GRANTS AND LOANS AIMED MOSTLY AT INDUSTRIES NOT YET RESTARTED AND THAT HAVE NOT BENEFITED FROM EARLIER PROGRAMS LIKE RESTAURANTS, RETAILS, LODGING, FARMS AND NONPROFITS.
>> LIKE RENT, MORTGAGE PAYMENTS, UTILITIES, INVENTORY OR OTHER ESSENTIAL OPERATING EXPENSES.
>> REPORTER: FOR THOSE WHO SHUT THEIR DOORS OR ARE ON THE BRINK OF CLOSURE WHO THINK A GRANT CAN SAVE THEIR BUSINESS, STATE LEADERS ENCOURAGE THEM TO APPLY.
>> IF THERE WAS EVER A TIME TO MAKE THESE INVESTMENTS IT IS NOW.
WE ARE FACING EXTRA ORDINARY CHALLENGES SO WE NEED EXTRA ORDINARY MEASURES TO REBUILD AND REIMAGINE VERMONT.
>> REPORTER: THE FIRST PHASE OF THE STIMULUS PLAN ALSO INCLUDES 50 MILLION IN HOUSING ASSISTANCE, GIVING RETHROAF LANDLORDS, RENTERS AND HOMELESS PEOPLE.
AND 10 MILLION FOR A MARKETING CAMPAIGN AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO HELP BUSINESSES NAVIGATE THESE PROGRAMS.
A SECOND PHASE OF THE STIMULUS WILL PUMP 90 MORE MILLION DOLLARS INTO BROAD BAND EXPANSION, WORK FORCE TRAINING AND COMMUNITY RECOVERY GRANTS.
THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE STIMULUS IS THE NEXT STEP TO RESTORING OUR ECONOMY AND WORK FORCE TO PRECODE TIMES.
>> WE SEE SOME HOPE, SOME LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL, AND WE HOPE TO GET PEOPLE BACK IN BUSINESS AND HOPE TO BE ABLE TO HAVE MORE PEOPLE COMING INTO THE STATE.
>> DARREN: AND CALVIN JOINS ME NOW.
GOOD MORNING.
>> REPORTER: GOOD MORNING, DARREN.
>> DARREN: THIS IS JUST A PROPOSAL, CALVIN.
LAWMAKERS NEED TO APPROVE IT.
THEY CAN MAKE CHANGES TO IT.
THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE WANTS THIS DONE QUICKLY WITHIN A WEEK.
HAVE YOU GOTTEN ANY INDICATION WHETHER LAWMAKERS ARE LOOKING TO MAKE CHANGES OR IF IT WILL BE APPROVED WITHIN A WEEK?
>> REPORTER: WELL, DARREN, LAWMAKERS AND ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS SAY THAT THEY'RE CONFIDENT THEY CAN ACT ON THIS WITHIN A WEEK TO 10 DAYS.
THERE'S IMMENSE PRESSURE ON EVERYBODY IN THE ADMINISTRATION AND LAWMAKERS TO GET CASH INTO THE HANDS OF BUSINESS OWNERS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
RESTAURANTS, MOVIE THEATERS.
THEY'VE ALL SECTORS OF THE HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM SECTORS ARE STILL BLEEDING CASH.
BUT RIGHT NOW IT'S UNCLEAR WHAT CHANGES LAWMAKERS WILL MAKE TO THE PLAN, BUT THEY WILL PROVIDE CLARITY ON HOW MUCH EACH BUSINESS GETS AND MAKING SURE THAT THE FUNDS ARE DISTRIBUTED FAIRLY.
I'M ALSO TOLD THAT LEADERS HAVE TO STRIKE A BALANCE.
THEY WANT TO GIVE MONEY TO THOSE WHO NEED IT RIGHT AWAY, BUT THEY ALSO WANT TO TAKE TIME AND CAREFULLY INVEST THESE DOLLARS WISELY.
I'M TOLD 400 MILLION IS A LOT OF MONEY, AND LAWMAKERS AND THE ADMINISTRATION JUST WANT TO BE CAREFUL AND INVEST THIS MONEY WISELY.
>> DARREN: BUT THEY HAVE TO ACT QUICKLY, RIGHT?
BECAUSE THE CLOCK IS TICKING ON THEM.
>> REPORTER: RIGHT, EXACTLY.
SO THE ADMINISTRATION HAS UNTIL DECEMBER 31ST TO SPEND ALL OF THE $1.25 BILLION OF THE CARES ACT THAT COMES FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, AND SCOTT'S $400 MILLION PLAN IS PART OF THAT POT OF CASH.
GETTING CASH OUT THE DOOR TO RESTAURANTS AND SMALL BUSINESSES CAN HAPPEN IN THE SHORT TERM, BUT OTHER PROJECTS IN SCOTT'S PROPOSAL SUCH AS BROAD BAND, SCHOOL REPAIRS AND HOUSING FOR THE HOMELESS WILL TAKE TIME.
LAWMAKERS ARE NOW TASKED WITH MAKING SMART, DELIBERATE CONCISE DECISIONS BEFORE TIME RUNS OUT OR IT WILL HAVE TO GIVE THE CASH BACK TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.
>> DARREN: IS THE STATE WORRIED ABOUT GETTING THAT MONEY OUT QUICKLY?
AS YOU KNOW AND HAVE BEEN REPORTING, WE'VE SEEN HUGE BACKLOGS IN UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS.
>> THAT IS DEFINITELY A CONCERN OF THE ADMINISTRATION.
AS I SAID THEY'RE CONFIDENT THEY CAN GET THE MONEY OUT THE DOOR AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
THE AGENCY OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SAYS THE STATE IS PLANNING ON EXPEDITING THE APPLICATION, SO PEOPLE AREN'T LEFT WAITING FOR CASH LIKE WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR'S RECENT BACKLOG WITH UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS.
THE STATE WILL USE THE DEPARTMENTS OF TAXES AND AGRICULTURE ALONG WITH THE STATE AND LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION TO PROCESS AND DISTRIBUTE PAYMENTS.
NOW THEY SAY THESE AGENCIES ARE USED TO THIS PROCESS AND THAT THEY'LL BE ABLE TO GET THESE PAYMENTS IN AND OUT IN A VERY LITTLE TIME.
>> DARREN: ARE ANY BUSINESSES NOT ELIGIBLE EVEN IF THEY'VE BEEN DEALT A FINANCIAL BLOW BECAUSE OF THE PANDEMIC?
>> AS WE KNOW, THOUSANDS OF BUSINESSES WILL BE ELIGIBLE, BUT SOME IN THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY ARE CONCERNED THAT SOME BUSINESSES THAT ARE STILL HURTING AND STILL NEED HELP WON'T BE ELIGIBLE.
AS OF RIGHT NOW, THE PROGRAM SAYS THAT IF YOU'VE ALREADY RECEIVED HELP LIKE A P.P.P. LOAN, YOU WON'T BE ELIGIBLE FOR THIS NEW POT OF MONEY.
LEADERS FROM THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WANT TO SEE MORE FLEXIBILITY IN THE PROGRAM SO MAIN STREET VERMONT CAN GET ALL THE HELP IT NEEDS.
BUT AS WE SAID, ALL OF THESE VARIABLES ARE UP IN THE AIR, EVERYTHING FROM THAT POINT TO HOW MUCH EACH BUSINESS MAKES, THAT CAN ALWAYS BE CHANGED BY THE LEGISLATURE WHO WILL BE TAKING A LOOK AT THIS BILL NEXT WEEK.
>> DARREN: CALVIN CUTLER, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
STILL AHEAD, WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE PLANNING A CAMPING TRIP IN VERMONT.
AND NEXT, THE $50 MILLION PLAN TO GET FARMERS OUT OF A FINANCIAL PINCH.
>> DARREN: A BAD SITUATION MADE WORSE BY THE PANDEMIC.
STARTLING NEW NUMBERS ABOUT VERMONT'S DAIRY INDUSTRY AND FINANCIAL LOSSES.
BUT AS ADAM SULLIVAN REPORTS, A BIG CHUNK OF THE ECONOMIC RELIEF PACKAGE WILL GO TO VERMONT FARMS.
>> REPORTER: THERE ARE CURRENTLY APPROXIMATELY 760 DAIRY FARMS ACROSS THE STATE OF VERMONT.
IT'S A NUMBER THAT HAS BEEN DECLINING FOR DECADES.
AND THE CURRENT PANDEMIC IS MAKING MATTERS MUCH WORSE.
>> SOMETIMES A LITTLE BIT SCARY TO WONDER WHAT'S GOING TO BE COMING NEXT.
>> REPORTER: PAUL'S GRANDPARENTS WORKED THIS LAND IN BARNARD IN THE 1920'S.
NOW HIS SON IS DRIVING THE TRACTOR PLANTING SWEET CORN.
70 MILKING COWS ARE IN THE BARN, AND UNCERTAINTY ABOUNDS. WHEN THE FOOD SERVICES INDUSTRY CAME TO A SCREECHING HALT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK, DEMAND FOR MILK PLUMMETED AND SO DID THE PRICE THEY GET PAID.
>> SOUR CREAM IS A REAL IMPORTANT INGREDIENT FOR RESTAURANTS, AS IS BUTTER, WHICH IS SOMETHING I WASN'T AWARE OF UNTIL THIS ALL HAPPENED.
>> REPORTER: THE FARM IS LOSING MONEY ON EVERY MILK SHIPMENT AND LARGE OPERATIONS UNDER THE SAME BOAT.
THIS FARM ON THE BRAD FORD TOWN LINE MILKS MORE THAN 1500 COWS.
>> COVID SHOWED UP, WE LOST AS AN INDUSTRY ROUGHLY 30% BASED ON FOOD SERVICE AND SCHOOLS AND SUCH.
>> REPORTER: BUT RELIEF IS COMING.
$40 MILLION WILL BE DISTRIBUTED TO VERMONT FARMERS TO HELP MAKE ENDS MEET SO THEY CAN KEEP THEIR FARMS PART OF THE REGIONS WELL-KNOWN WORKING LANDSCAPE.
>> WE CAN'T AFFORD TO LOSE FARMS FROM SOME OF OUR TOWNS, WE'RE DOWN TO ONE OR TWO FARMS AND SOME TOWNS DON'T HAVE ANY FARMS LEFT.
>> REPORTER: IT'S A SHOT IN THE ARM THAT BOTH SMALL AND LARGE SCALE PRODUCERS ARE GRATESFUL FOR.
>> WE'RE ALL LOOKING AT OPERATING LINES OF CREDIT JUST TO PAY BILLS.
SO NOT ONLY FOR THE FARMS BUT FOR THE RIPPLE EFFECT.
>> EQUIPMENT DEALERSHIPS, THE VETERINARY CLINIC, AND ALL THOSE OTHERS.
THE GUY THAT BRINGS US THE SOAP, THE I.B.A. MAN.
>> REPORTER: AN ADDITIONAL 10 MILLION WILL TARGET DAIRY PROCESSORS WHO MAKE ARTISAN CHEESEES AND BUTTER.
>> IT'S A HUGE PART OF OUR MARKET.
>> REPORTER: BUT THE SHELVES AT THE FARMERS MARKET ARE NOT AS STOCKED AS USUAL.
>> CERTAIN PRODUCTS WE USED TO SELL A LOT OF WE CAN GET ANY MORE BECAUSE THE DAIRY PRODUCERS AREN'T MAKING THOSE PRODUCTS.
>> REPORTER: JUST ANOTHER REASON WHY INDUSTRY EXPERTS SAY IT'S MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER TO SUPPORT LOCAL FARMS.
SUPPORT THAT CAN COME IN MANY DIFFERENT FORMS.
>> MAYBE IT'S A TIME THAT TODAY IS THE DAY YOU BRING A CASSEROLE OVER TO THE FARMER TO GET THEM THROUGH THE NEXT DAY.
>> REPORTER: AG OFFICIALS SAY RIGHT NOW IT'S ALL ABOUT SURVIVAL, AND THE STATISTICS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.
IN THE MONTH OF MAY, FIVE MORE DAIRY FARMS IN VERMONT WENT OUT OF BUSINESS.
FROM BARNARD, ADAM SULLIVAN, CHANNEL 3 NEWS.
>> DARREN: JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT THE STRUGGLE FOR FARMERS AND WHAT'S IN THIS RELIEF PACKAGE IS AGRICULTURE SECRETARY, ANSON TEBBETTS.
GOOD MORNING.
>> GOOD MORNING, DARREN.
>> DARREN: SECRETARY TEBBETTS, YOU JUST RELEASED SOME STAGGERING NUMBERS ABOUT LOST PROFITS FOR FARMS AND FOR CHEESE MAKERS.
LET'S START THERE.
YOU JUST HEARD ADAM'S REPORT, FIVE FARMS WENT UNDER IN THE FIRST WEEKEND IN MAY.
AND YOU'RE PREDICTING MILK PRICES WILL HIT HISTORIC LOWS IN THE COMING MONTHS.
WHY?
AND DOES THAT MEAN MORE FARMS WILL FOLD?
>> WELL, THE REASON THAT THE SITUATION IS SO DIFFICULT FOR OUR DAIRY FARMERS AS WELL AS OUR CHEESE MAKERS IS BECAUSE OF WHAT HAPPENED BACK IN MARCH, WHEN PRETTY MUCH ALL THE RETAIL OPERATIONS AS FAR AS RESTAURANTS, COFFEE SHOPS, COLLEGES, SCHOOLS, WHEN THEY CLOSED, THERE WAS NO AVENUE FOR THAT MILK OR BUTTER OR CHEESE TO GO TO.
WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT THE CHEESE INDUSTRY, MANY OF THE MARKETS FROM SOME OF OUR AWARD WINNING CHEESE PEOPLE FROM VERMONT, THOSE ARE THOSE RESTAURANTS IN NEW YORK AND BOSTON AND WASHINGTON AND PHILADELPHIA.
THEY'RE OFF THE MENU NOW AND MANY OF THOSE ESTABLISHMENTS HAVE NOT COME BACK YET, SO THEY LOST THEIR MARKETS OVERNIGHT.
SO THAT MEANT THE PRICE OF MILK MADE TO THE DAIRY FARMER PLUMMETED.
THERE'S TOO MUCH MILK OUT THERE IN THE SYSTEM TO MEET DEMAND AND THAT'S WHY THEY'RE RECEIVING SIGNIFICANT LOSSES.
WE EXPECT THE WORST TO COME, MAYBE NEXT MONTH, AND THE FOLLOWING MONTH AND THE FOLLOWING MONTH AFTER THAT.
SO THE GOAL OF THIS STIMULUS PROGRAM FROM FARMERS WOULD RECEIVE PAYMENTS, GRANTS, IS TO GET THEM THROUGH THE NEXT FEW MONTHS SO THEY CAN GET TO THE END OF THE SUMMER, MAYBE INTO THE FALL WHEN THINGS WILL RECOVER WHEN AMERICA OPENS UP AGAIN.
SO ON THE SMALL SCALE, IF PEOPLE QUALIFY, IT COULD BE UP TO MAYBE A R $45,000.
AND ON THE HIGH END WE'RE LOOKING AT LARGE FARMS MAYBE RECEIVING A PAYMENT, IF THEY QUALIFY FOR ABOUT $110,000.
MUCH OF THIS IS STILL TO BE WORKED OUT.
BUT WE LOOKED AT A FORMULA, IT'S BASED ON PRODUCTION, BASED ON ANIMALS AND ALSO BASED ON SOME OF THE PROGRAMS THAT MAYBE SOME FARMERS HAVE QUALIFIED IN OTHER THINGS THAT MAY MAKE THIS PROGRAM BETTER TO GET THROUGH.
>> DARREN: LET'S LOOK AT THE LOSSES THOUGH, WE'RE TALKING CHEESE MAKERS.
YOU HAD PREDICTED 50 TO 95%S WILLES --
LOSSES FOR THEM.
WALK US WHY AS TO, CHEESE MAKERS, HAVE THEY GONE UNDER AS WELL?
>> RIGHT NOW I HAVE NOT HEARD OF ANY CHEESE MAKERS GOING UNDER.
BUT WHAT THEY'VE DONE IS THEY'VE REALLY HAD TO ADAPT, THEY'VE HAD TO CHANGE.
AND SOME OF THEM, THE RESTAURANTS AND CHEESE STORES AND SOME OF THE BIGGER MARKETS, THAT'S WHERE THEY SOLD THEIR CHEESE.
SO THEY'VE HAD TO PIVOT AND THEY'VE HAD TO GO ONLINE SO THEY'RE PUTTING UP WEBSITES AND TRYING TO DRIVE PEOPLE TO THAT.
THERE'S ALSO WITH MORE PRODUCT THEY'VE HAD ISSUES WITH STORING CHEESE.
A LOT OF THESE CAVES THAT THEY HAVE, THEY DON'T HAVE A LOT OF STORAGE BECAUSE THEY, ESPECIALLY THE SOFT CHEESES HAVE TO GET OUT AND ONTO THE MENU AND ONTO THE PLATE PRETTY QUICKLY.
SO THEY'VE REALLY HAD TO ADAPT QUICKLY.
BUT SOME OF THE STAGGERING FIGURES THAT HAVE BEEN COMING TO US, WE'VE BEEN GETTING SURVEYS SINCE DAY ONE, AND THE CHEESE MAKERS WERE SOME OF THE FIRST FOLKS REALLY TO GET HIT HARD IN THE DAIRY INDUSTRY ON THIS.
ANYWHERE FROM 50 TO 95% LOSSES RIGHT OUT OF THE FIRST FEW WEEKS OF THIS PANDEMIC BACK IN MARCH.
AND SOME OF THEM HAVEN'T RECOVERED, BUT THEY'RE DOING THEIR BEST TO SURVIVE AND THAT'S WHAT THESE GRANTS ARE ALL ABOUT.
IT'S ABOUT SURVIVAL, GIVING THEM SUCH CASH SO THEY CAN SEE THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL WHEN WE START TO OPEN UP AGAIN MAYBE LATER IN THE SUMMER OR FALL.
>> DARREN: YOU MENTIONED HOW THESE PAYMENTS WILL BE DISBURSED, PART OF THIS $400 MILLION RELIEF PACKAGE.
50 MILLION AGAIN GOING TO THE DAIRY INDUSTRY, FARMERS AND PRODUCERS.
HOW SOON ARE THEY GOING TO GET THIS?
>> WELL, WE HAVE TO GET APPROVAL FROM THE LEGISLATURE AND THEN THE GOVERNOR WILL SIGN.
SO WE'VE HAD INDICATIONS FROM THE LEGISLATURE THEY DO WANT TO TAKE THIS UP VERY QUICKLY, SO THEY'LL GIVE US FEEDBACK, THEY'LL MAKE SUGGESTIONS, MAYBE THEY'LL MAKE SOME CHANGES.
BUT WE'RE ALREADY WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE AGENCY BECAUSE THE AGENCY OF AGRICULTURE WILL ADMINISTER THE PROGRAM THAT'S INVOLVED IN THE VALUE ADDED AND ALSO THE DAIRY FARMERS.
SO AS SOON AS THAT IS SIGNED INTO LAW WE HOPE TO GET THOSE CHECKS OUT SOON AFTER THAT.
WE'RE REACHING OUT TO FARMERS NOW TO MAKE SURE THEY GET ALL THEIR PAPERWORK AVAILABLE AND READY FOR US SO WE CAN GET THE CHECKS TO THEM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, BECAUSE IT REALLY IS AN URGENT NEED THAT THEY DO NEED MONEY TO PAY THEIR BILLS AND PAY THOSE PEOPLE, LIKE THE GRAIN DEALERS, SUPPLIERS, THE SEALED, PAY FOR THE GAS, THE TRACTORS.
IT'S A VERY EXPENSIVE TIME OF YEAR FOR FARMING RIGHT NOW, PROBABLY THE MOST EXPENSIVE TIME FOR THEM AS WELL BECAUSE SO MUCH ACTIVITY IS HAPPENING, SPRING PLANTING AND SUMMER SEASON AND HAYING AND SO FORTH.
>> DARREN: WHAT ABOUT OTHER FARMERS OUTSIDE OF DAIRY?
>> YES.
WE'RE LOOKING AT SOME SPECIALTY CROP DOLLARS THAT WE'VE PUT OUT SOME DOLLARS FOR THEM THAT THEY CAN APPLY FOR, SOME MICRO GRANTS, THOSE ARE OUT THERE.
WE ALSO ARE ENCOURAGING FARMERS TO LOOK AT THE OVERALL PACKAGE THAT THE COMMERCE AGENCY HAS PUT OUT.
AGRICULTURE IS NOT EXCLUDED FROM THAT PARTICULAR POCKET OF MONEY THAT COMMERCE IS MANAGING, SO I WOULD ENCOURAGE PEOPLE THAT ARE NOT IN DAIRY TO LOOK AT THOSE.
THERE COULD BE SOME DOLLARS THERE.
>> DARREN: WE REPORTED ON FARMERS FORCED TO DUMP MILK.
FIRST OF ALL, IS THIS STILL HAPPENING?
AND SECOND, WE'RE STILL HEARING FROM VIEWERS WHO SAY THEY ARE STILL SEEING LIMITS ON THE AMOUNT OF DAIRY THEY'RE ALLOWED TO PURCHASE AT STORES LIKE BUTTER AND MILK.
THAT DOESN'T SEEM TO MAKE SENSE.
IS THE AGENCY ADDRESSING THESE TWO THINGS?
>> YES, THAT'S BEEN A FRUSTRATING ONE FOR EVERYONE, THE DAIRY FARMER ALSO, THE SHOPPER TO SEE THAT.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE IS WE HAVE WRITTEN TO ALL THE RETAILERS AND HAD CONVERSATIONS WITH THEM ASKING THEM TO TAKE THOSE SIGNS DOWN.
THERE'S AMPLE DAIRY OUT THERE.
SOME OF IT MAY BE DELIVERIES TO THE STORE AND THEY'RE NOT QUITE SURE.
BUTTER IS A CONCERN NOW.
I THINK BUTTER IS THE HOT SPOT NOW IF THERE'S GOING TO BE ENOUGH BUTTER AROUND FOR EVERYBODY TO HAVE.
BUT WE'VE WRITTEN TO ALL THE RETAILERS, THE GROCERS ASSOCIATION IN VERMONT ASKING THEM TO DO THAT.
WE'VE ALSO BEEN SUCCESSFUL GETTING A GRANT FROM THE VERMONT COMMUNITY FOUNDATION, THEY HAVE PURCHASED PRODUCT FROM DAIRY FARMERS AND ARE CONVERTING THAT INTO MILK JUGS AND ALSO BUTTER AND YOGURT.
WE JUST GOT WORD THAT WE GOT SOME EXTRA DOLLARS TO MAKE ANOTHER DROP OF THAT.
SO THAT'S GOING TO THE FOOD BANK.
SO THOSE ARE A COUPLE THINGS WE'RE TRYING TO ADDRESS.
BUT IT'S BEEN FRUSTRATING TO SEE THOSE SIGNS IN STORES AND LIMIT THE FOLKS ON THAT.
WE'RE TRYING TO ADDRESS IT AND WE ENCOURAGE ALL RETAILERS, IF THEY'RE HAVING TROUBLE GETTING SUPPLIES, MAYBE REACH OUT TO US AND MAYBE WE CAN HELP AS WELL.
>> DARREN: IS DUMPING STILL HAPPENING?
>> IT'S NOT AS GREAT AS IT WAS THE FIRST FEW WEEKS INTO THE PANDEMIC.
>> DARREN: VERMONT AS YOU KNOW HAS BEEN LOSING FARMS FOR DECADES, WE'RE NOW UNDER 800.
SO THE FINANCIAL STRUGGLE FOR FARMERS ISN'T NEW.
IS THIS MONEY JUST A BAND AID FOR A BIGGER ISSUE?
>> I THINK IT'S A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL OF US TO SAY YES, WE WANT FARMS.
AND I'M REALLY CONCERNED THAT IF WE DON'T DO SOMETHING WE COULD LOSE MANY MORE.
WHEN YOU LOSE A FARM FROM A COMMUNITY, IT HAS A RIPPLE EFFECT.
THERE'S A LOT OF JOBS THAT ARE CREATED TO THAT FARM, THEY'RE COMMUNITY LEADERS, THEY MAY BE ON THE FIRE DEPARTMENT, THE SELECT BOARD, THE SCHOOL BOARD.
ALSO VERMONT RELIES ON OUR OPEN SPACES, OUR AGRICULTURE IN ACTIVE PRODUCTION.
THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN FOR SURVIVAL SO WE CAN GET TO ANOTHER DAY AND WE'RE ALL ABOUT HAVING BIGGER CONVERSATIONS DOWN THE ROAD.
AND SOME OF THAT IS ALREADY HAPPENING ON THE NATIONAL SCALE.
BUT WE NEED TO GET THERE.
WE CAN'T AFFORD TO LOSE ANY MORE FARMERS.
>> DARREN: AND THOSE BIGGER CONVERSATIONS THAT ARE HAPPENING, ARE YOU TALKING LIKE ANOTHER DAIRY COMPACT TYPE THING?
>> THE PROBLEM WITH DAIRY HAS ALWAYS BEEN, AND IT'S NO FAULT OF ANYONE, IT'S JUST THE WAY THE SYSTEM IS, WHEN TIMES ARE BAD YOU'RE FORCED TO INCREASE PRODUCTION TO PAY THE BILLS, AND THEN YOU GO THROUGH THAT STRETCH OF NOT HAVING ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY ALL THE BILLS, LOW PRICES.
THEN WHEN TIMES ARE GOOD YOU'VE GOT TO MAKE UP FOR THAT SO YOU PUT MORE ANIMALS ON AS WELL.
THE VERMONT MILK COMMISSION HAS BEEN ADVOCATING A GROWTH MANAGEMENT PLAN.
ON THE NATIONAL LEVEL WE HAVE NOT BEEN SUCCESSFUL.
BUT THERE IS, I THINK THERE'S MOVEMENT MORE THAN THERER HAS BEEN ON THAT RIGHT NOW.
>> DARREN: SECRETARY TEBBETTS, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
BE SAFE.
NEXT, THE SCRAMBLE TO GET SET FOR CAMPERS.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT IF YOU'RE VISITING A STATE PARK DURING THE PANDEMIC.
>> DARREN: WE LEARNED THAT THE STATE IS GETTING READY TO OPEN PARKS TO CAMPING, BUT YOU CAN EXPECT SOME CHANGES DUE TO THE PANDEMIC.
TO TALK ABOUT THOSE CHANGES, I'LL JOINED NOW BY AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES SECRETARY, JULIE MOORE.
GOOD MORNING.
>> GOOD MORNING.
>> DARREN: YOU WERE EYEING AN OPENING DATE OF JUNE 26.
STILL THE CASE?
>> THAT IS STILL THE CASE.
AND OUR HOPE IS THAT WE MAY HAVE SOME AREAS READY TO BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC FULLY SOONER.
>> DARREN: WHAT'S BEING DONE TO GET THOSE PARKS READY AND HOW MANY EMPLOYEES ARE BACK ON THE JOB NOW?
>> WELL, JUST THIS WEEK WE'RE IN THE PROCESSION OF ON BOARDING THE MORE THAN 300 EMPLOYEES THAT MAKE OUR PARKS HUM EVERY SUMMER.
THAT RUNS THE RANGE FROM MAINTENANCE WORKERS TO THE FOLKS WHO WORK AT THE CONTACT STATION, TO THE FOLKS WHO COME BY CAMP SITES AND RAKE OUT FIRE PITS AND ENSURE THAT THEY'RE PICKED UP AND READY FROM GUEST TO GUEST.
SO IT'S QUITE AN UNDERTAKING TO GET EVERYBODY READY FOR THE SUMMER SEASON, AND WE'RE THRILLED TO BE UNDER WAY AT THIS POINT.
>> DARREN: WELL, BECAUSE OF THE PANDEMIC, THERE ARE NEW RULES IN PLACE SURROUNDING CAPACITY, AND WHAT'S AVAILABLE TO CAMPERS.
WALK US THROUGH THAT.
>> SURE.
CERTAINLY OPERATING STATE PARKS IS BEING DONE WITH A CRITICAL EYE TOWARD PUBLIC SAFETY AND HYGIENE THIS SUMMER.
SO WE ARE MAKING A NUMBER OF CHANGES.
THESE RUN FROM STEPS BEING TAKEN TO REDUCE HIGH TOUCH AREAS, LIKE PLAYGROUND STRUCTURES AND SALES OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF MERCHANDISE AT THE PARKS, TO ENHANCED SANITATION PRACTICES IN OUR BATHROOMS AND FRANKLY IN PLACES WHERE BATHROOM USAGE IS HIGH, BRINGING IN PORT ALETS THAT WILL BE SANITIZED A COUPLE TIMES A DAY.
WE BELIEVE THESE CHANGES ARE IMPORTANT.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME WON'T DRAMATICALLY ALTER FOLKS' PARK EXPERIENCE.
>> DARREN: SO LET US ALSO LET FOLKS KNOW THAT RIGHT NOW, NO CABIN OR COTTAGE RENTALS, RIGHT?
>> CORRECT.
WE HAVE BEEN WORKING IN CLOSE CONSULTATION WITH THE VERMONT DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH ABOUT THE BEST WAYS TO OPERATE OUR PARKS, AND HAVE DETERMINED THAT COTTAGE AND CABIN RENTALS THIS SUMMER WILL NEED TO BE FOREGONE.
THERE WILL STILL BE R.V., TENTS AND LEAN-TO CAMPING OPPORTUNITIES THROUGHOUT THE PARK SYSTEM.
>> DARREN: WHAT ABOUT PARK CAPACITY, WILL THAT BE LIMITED TO KEEP SOCIAL DISTANCING IN PLACE?
>> IT WILL BE, AND WE'RE LOOKING AT DIFFERENT STRATEGIES DEPENDING WHETHER WE'RE TALKING ABOUT DAY USE AREAS LIKE SAND BAR STATE PARK OR WATER BURY CENTER STATE PARK OR OVERNIGHT CAMPING.
WHEN IT COMES TO DAY USE AREAS WE'RE ENCOURAGING FOLKS TO STICK WITH THE GROUP THEY ARRIVED WITH AND PROVIDE SOCIAL DISTANCE BETWEEN UNRELATED PODS OF PARK GOERS.
SO WE MAY NEED TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF PARKING SPOTS AVAILABLE TO ENSURE THERE'S SUFFICIENT SPACE FOR FOLKS TO SPREAD OUT.
UNDER THE TERMS OF THE GOVERNOR'S CURRENT EXECUTIVE ORDER, CAMPGROUNDS ARE LIMITED TO 25% CAPACITY.
WE ANTICIPATE AS HEALTH TRENDS CONTINUE THAT THAT NUMBER WILL INCREASE OVER THE COMING WEEKS, BUT WE'LL BE OPERATING OUR PARKS CONSISTENT WITH THE ORDER THAT'S BEEN PLACED COME JUNE 26.
>> DARREN: CAN WE GET BACK TOES WHO HIGH TOUCH AREAS.
YOU MENTIONED PLAYGROUNDS.
DOES THAT MEAN THEY ARE NOT LIKELY TO OPEN?
>> YES, WE ACTUALLY ARE IN THE PROCESSION OF PUTTING UP PHYSICAL BARRIERS TO MAKE CLEAR TO FOLKS THAT THEY'RE CLOSED.
IF PEOPLE WANT TO COME TO PARKS WITH THEIR OWN RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT, SOFTBALLS AND FRISBEES, CERTAINLY OUR GREEN SPACES REMAIN OPEN AND AVAILABLE.
IN FACT WE ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO PLAY WHILE THEY'RE IN THE PARKS.
BUT PLACES WHERE YOU HAVE LOTS OF UNRELATED FOLKS POTENTIALLY TOUCHING THE SAME PIECE OF EQUIPMENT BETWEEN CLEANINGS ARE SIMPLY TOO HIGH A RISK THIS SUMMER.
>> DARREN: SO THAT MEANS RENTAL GEAR AS WELL LIKE FISHING POLES NOT HAPPENING?
>> CORRECT.
WE WON'T BE OPERATING THE FISHING IN THE STATE PARKS THIS SUMMER.
TO THE EXTENT THERE ARE LOCATIONS WHERE WE WOULD TRADITIONAL RENT OUT BICYCLES OR WATER CRAFT, WE ALSO WILL NOT BE DOING THAT THIS YEAR.
>> DARREN: WE UNDERSTAND THAT FIREWOOD WILL BE FOR SALE.
ICE, TOO, IF THERE'S NOT A NEARBY STORE.
BUT WHAT ELSE SHOULD CAMPERS BRING THEMSELVES ASIDE FROM THE OBVIOUS, ANYTHING SPECIFIC TO THE PANDEMIC?
>> SURE.
WE ARE ASKING EVERYONE TO COME EQUIPPED WITH A CLOTH FACE COVERING.
TO THE EXTENT YOU DON'T NEED TO WEAR IT WHILE YOU'RE ON YOUR SITE, BUT IF YOUR LEAVING YOUR SITE, PARTICULARLY HEADED TO THE BATH FACILITY OR TO A DAY USE AREA, WE ARE ASKING PEOPLE TO WEAR A CLOTH FACE COVERING.
IN ADDITION, WHILE OUR WATER SPIGOTS WILL REMAIN OPERATIONAL WE HAVE TURNED OFF WATER FOUNTAINS, SO ENCOURAGE PARTICULARLY DAY USERS TO COME WITH A WATER BOTTLE THAT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE FOR FILLING FROM A SPIGOT.
THEN FINALLY, ASK EVERYONE TO COME PREPARED WITH A SUPPLY OF HAND SANITIZ IRAND SANITIZING WIPES TO MAKE SURE THEIR HANDS ARE DISINFECTED THROUGHOUT THE DAY.
>> DARREN: WHAT ABOUT THE QUARANTINE RULE, DOES THAT STILL APPLY TO CAMPGROUNDS?
>> IT DOES APPLY TO CAMPGROUNDS.
AND THE EXPECTATION IS BEFORE OUT OF STATE VISITORS WOULD COME TO A VERMONT STATE PARK THAT THEY WOULD HAVE COMPLIED WITH THE GOVERNOR'S REQUIREMENT FOR A 14-DAY QUARANTINE.
>> DARREN: AND CAN PEOPLE MAKE THEIR REGULATIONER --
RESERVATIONS NOW?
>> THEY CAN.
WE ARE ACCEPTING RESERVATIONS FOR THE REST OF THE SUMMER SEASON AT VT STATE PARK.COM.
WE'LL ALSO BE POSTING UPDATES THERE.
SO TO THE EXTENT WE ARE ABLE TO OPEN CERTAIN PARKS AND FACILITIES SOONER THAN JUNE 26, WE WILL MAKE THAT INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE ON OUR WEBSITE.
>> DARREN: SECRETARY MOORE, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.
STAY WELL AND HEALTHY.
>> THANK YOU.
YOU TOO.
>> DARREN: THANK YOU.
THAT WILL DO IT FOR "YOU CAN QUOTE ME."
TAKE CARE, EVERYBODY, WE'LL SEE YOU SOON.