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2011 Annual Report to the General Assembly - Vermont Housing ...

2011 Annual Report to the General Assembly - Vermont Housing ...

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Top to bottom: The Catamount Trail Association used VHCB funds to purchase a trail easement in Lowell, establishing a protected backcountry ski trail corridor from the top of the Lowell Mountains to the base of Hazen’s Notch that is over 6 miles in length; Harvey and Donna Smith sell naturally raised beef on their New Haven farm, conserved this year with the Vermont Land Trust; Bikers enjoy a ride in Barre’s historic quarry area on Millstone Hill. The Trust for Public Land is working with the Town of Barre to conserve 343 acres with an expansive trail system. Catamount Trail Association photo Millstone Trails l Association photo Vermont Land Trust photo NATURAL AREAS and RECREATIONAL LANDS Conservation projects over the past 18 months include investments in two town forests and recreational areas with miles of existing trails (Millstone Hill in Barre and Cady Hill in Stowe), and three additions to Nature Conservancy Preserves in Fair Haven, Guildhall and Dummerston. VHCB also funded three riparian projects protecting habitat and providing public access, in Middlesex, Duxbury and Enosburgh, as well as the acquisition by the town of Wells of lakeshore property and town forestland. HISTORIC PROPERTIES In fiscal and calendar year 2011, the board invested in historic buildings available for public use in Brighton and Stowe, helping to protect Vermont’s cultural landscape, a critical component of our state’s identity and appeal to residents and visitors alike. VHCB works with the Preservation Trust of Vermont and local towns and historical societies to protect historically-significant public buildings in Vermont’s downtowns and village centers. ECONOMIC and ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS Conservation helps keep farmland in farming and forestland forested—in other words, maintains the working landscape treasured by both locals and tourists. Investments in our working landscape strengthen the agricultural and forestry industries, enhancing those economies. Protecting recreational lands reaps economic benefits as well. For example, a study of one popular mountain bike center in East Burke estimated that bikers contribute $1.5 to $2 million to the local economy each year. VHCB’s contribution to major conservation and recreation projects that include mountain bike trails in Barre and Stowe will help to support multiple businesses in those areas. Conservation investments in farm and recreation lands along river corridors promote flood resiliency, preventing development in areas needed by rivers to access their natural floodplains, which in turn mitigates impacts on alreadydeveloped village centers and downtowns. Protecting public access to trails and to water augments public health efforts by providing opportunities for Vermonters to get outside and exercise, whether by walking, swimming, biking, hunting or skiing. Attractions like the Long Trail, the Catamount Trail and the Cross Vermont Trail attract hikers, skiers and cyclists, bringing millions in tourist dollars into the state. 6

Vermont Farm Viability Program The Vermont Farm Viability Program (vfvp) provides business planning, technical assistance and implementation grants to Vermont farmers and ag-related businesses. Businesses receive individually tailored services from advisors at the Intervale Center, nofa-vt, uvm Extension or through private consultants.The program builds Vermont’s agricultural infrastructure and increases the supply and distribution of Vermont agricultural products while also improving the viability of Vermont farms. 2011 Program Highlights • The program enrolled 60 farms and 17 ag-related businesses for technical assistance and business planning services and awarded $183,520 in implementation grants to farmers and agricultural processing, distribution and marketing businesses. The grants pay for equipment, facilities, marketing materials, and conservation investments. • The Farm Viability Program continued to partner with the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund to successfully launch the Vermont Agricultural Development Program (vadp). With support from aic and private foundations, the vadp is now providing in-depth technical assistance to eight key food and ag-related businesses. • Using an award from the Vermont Agriculture Innovation Center ( aic), which was created with funding secured by Senator Leahy, the Farm Viability Program partnered with the Vermont Food Venture Center, the Center for an Agricultural Economy and nofa-vt to extend business planning and technical assistance services to ag-related businesses and value-added enterprises. • Also with funding from the aic, the Farm Viability Program extended its business planning and technical services to meet the needs of meat producers and processors, in order to expand Vermont’s capacity to meet the local, regional and national demand for Vermont meat products. Above, farmers Americo and Jill Balzano worked with the Viability Program on a business plan for their plan to develop an orchard at their new property in _______. The Vermont Food Venture Center at the groundbreaking ceremony in Hardwick. photo: Center for an Agricultural Economy Johannes Kroemer photo 7 Left: Pete Colman works up a batch of artisanal sausage for his start-up business, Vermont Salumi Above, from top: Chris Siegriest, Bread and Roses Farm, Westford; Ben Gleason shows off new grain milling equipment financed in part by the Farm Viability Program; Clark Parmelee raises poultry, beef, and pork on his farm in Randolph and offers mobile poultry slaughtering services to farmers with new equipment purchased last year.

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