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Comment Archives: stories: News + Opinion: Business

Re: “The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail Puts Small Businesses on the Path to Profitability

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Phil F. on 05/22/2019 at 1:01 PM

Re: “The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail Puts Small Businesses on the Path to Profitability

Great piece- and a wonderful economic success story. Would have been appropriate to mention the critical role then Rep. Bernie Sanders played in securing a $5M federal grant for the trail back in 2005.

10 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Phil F. on 05/22/2019 at 12:01 PM

Re: “What's Next for Vermont's Ailing Medical Marijuana Dispensaries?

Yes right now priced themselves out of market.
Plus you can now grow enough for yourself without having to run to the store
Dispensary now more for people not wanting to experiment to get the right combo for medicine. Would rather read a label for %

Posted by Stephanie Schryba on 05/17/2019 at 12:24 PM

Re: “What's Next for Vermont's Ailing Medical Marijuana Dispensaries?

"Don't let there be adult use or full legalization without the guys that have spent all this money to be compliant not being able to play in that arena," he said. "I mean, that's just asinine to me."....... Mr Walsh sounds like a child with an exaggerated sense of entitlement whining for a treat in the check out aisle. Most accountants can generate impressive financial projections for any business, from current industry data and demographics for the target area. One of the risk in a nascent industry is, there may not be enough historical date to proving relevant information in an emerging market. It should be noted that all business incur expense in order to be compliant with the regulations governing that type of business. Many everyday people have sunk their life saving into the local Inn or general store only to watch it all go down the drain because the realities of the market place could not keep pace with their financial projections. It's called Capitalism !! .......Mr Walsh might take a moment to ponder why any of us would care if his business failed

Posted by Edward Katz on 05/17/2019 at 11:51 AM

Re: “What's Next for Vermont's Ailing Medical Marijuana Dispensaries?

If they lowered their effing prices they'd make money hand over fist! It's absurd! Who can pay double to triple what anyone can find on the black market? Not a lot of people and especially not low income people that's for sure.

7 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by AllFourSeasons on 05/16/2019 at 1:23 PM

Re: “New Owners at Ripton Store Find Their Rural Groove

I've always liked this little store. Did they get rid of the porn?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Mt.Philo on 04/11/2019 at 11:48 AM

Re: “Who Wants to Work on a Vermont Dairy Farm? A Reporter Spent a Week Finding Out

The Vorsteveld farm is a colossal ghetto, period. It is a nauseating disgrace to the State of Vermont.

7 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by WilliamHoward on 03/25/2019 at 7:46 AM

Re: “Two Men's Trash: How Casella Waste Systems Converted Garbage Into a Sprawling Empire

Wondering if this knowyourassumptions guy has ever been to the Vt State House.

1 like, 8 dislikes
Posted by bobstannard on 03/23/2019 at 8:08 AM

Re: “Two Men's Trash: How Casella Waste Systems Converted Garbage Into a Sprawling Empire

"I would say they are, for Vermont, a very big and pretty powerful corporate entity, and they wield significant influence in the Statehouse."

That's a good one!

You must be mistaking Casella for the organizations that actually own and operate the Legislature: VPIRG and the state employees and teachers unions.

16 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by knowyourassumptions on 03/23/2019 at 7:39 AM

Re: “Two Men's Trash: How Casella Waste Systems Converted Garbage Into a Sprawling Empire

Two points
-NIMBY's and professional environmentalists have resulted in dumps , oops, landfills being worth their weight in gold . Good job guys .
-"The business is one of only two publicly traded companies headquartered in the state," One of 2 . That has to be the least in the nation. And people wonder why VT's population continues to decline . Hostility to any business (except microbrewery's) is only speeding up this trend .

10 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Rich ard on 03/22/2019 at 10:19 PM

Re: “Two Men's Trash: How Casella Waste Systems Converted Garbage Into a Sprawling Empire

I would add that hes one of the few people who threatened my life. I had just successfully won a legitimate bid to take the waste from the Town of Fair Haven. After the meeting John and I met in the parking lot where he aggressively threatened me if I didnt stay out of his way.

I never liked bullies. We kept competing against him until the time came where we, too, were bought out by him. It was rather fun selling him back the business I was able to competitively take away from him. I would disagree with my old friend, Rep.. Tony Klein; John Casella is not a nice man at all. Oh ,he can be charming when need be, but nice? I would never use that word to describe him.

8 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by bobstannard on 03/22/2019 at 8:13 AM

Re: “Two Men's Trash: How Casella Waste Systems Converted Garbage Into a Sprawling Empire

From 1990-95 I worked for a company that competed against Casella. It was quite an education. The short story of the rise of Casella in the world of garbage was that he cheated. His contracts were not the results of a typographical error that took 9 years to fix. His disposal practices were as shady. Do a little research into the Whitehall landfill if you want to see how this company and this man operate. A local guy had called me to say that they were illegally accepting hazardous waste. I took a ride over and met the guy. We went to the landfill and sure enough when we arrived there were about a dozen, 5-gallon pails with bright red skull & cross bones emblazoned on the buckets. I pulled out my camera and started taking pictures. Two thugs immediately came racing across the yard demanding that I give them my car and leave. I left with my camera.

Someone might also be interested in his disposal of countless loads of demolision debris that he dumped behind the Catholic Church in Rutland. It was illegal to dump there and it went there, because it was cheaper than legally disposing of the waste. Thats how he put others out of business. Its pretty simple really.

I used to say that there would be bigger margins in the grocery business if one could steal the food..

8 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by bobstannard on 03/22/2019 at 8:07 AM

Re: “Who Wants to Work on a Vermont Dairy Farm? A Reporter Spent a Week Finding Out

For what it's worth, the Vermont Dairy Producer's Conference is not a place for policy discussion - there are plenty of other outlets for that. It is more about education, learning about new and better ways for taking care of our cows and businesses, so that they can hopefully take care of us.

10 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Joanna Lidback on 03/19/2019 at 9:38 PM

Re: “Who Wants to Work on a Vermont Dairy Farm? A Reporter Spent a Week Finding Out

It's time to stop romanticizing the Vermont dairy industry and start calling it out for what it now is at many of these "farms". Animal exploitation, human exploitation, environmental degradation and corporate welfare all in the name of "a shit-ton of cheap milk".

Confining cows indoors to "live in their own excrement" is not farming, it's animal abuse and it's inhumane. Large mammals with emotions and feelings reduced to milk production machines is Orwellian and insanely cruel.

Why won't Americans work in a cowshit-filled building doing difficult, often dangerous labor for 12+ hour shifts, starting for less than Vermont's minimum wage, without overtime pay, and with few benefits? Huh, good question... Oh, and no health insurance. Just send workers to a "free" clinic, funded by taxpayers and the charity of others. Anyone who supports stricter immigration laws please stop drinking and eating all dairy products immediately.

A google search reveals that Holstein cows produce 100+ pounds of excrement a day. 1300 cows produce a shocking 47.5 MILLION pounds of manure per year!?! It's telling that anyone who questions the Vorstevelds about runoff or other environmental degradation are to be dismissed, because "none of you guys know shit about dairy farming." You don't need to be a dairy farmer to know that environmental stewardship is not the strong suit of these operations.

This is not a quaint Vermont dairy farm. This is a factory, employing migrants, exempt from Vermont's minimum wage and overtime laws, receiving special tax treatment because it is a "farm", and exploiting the charity of their community by burdening the free clinic. And to what end? They make hundreds of thousands of dollars, as reported, and we subsidize the whole thing. The federal government has 1.4 BILLION, pounds of cheese in storage. Paid for by taxpayers.

18 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by Jim6 on 03/19/2019 at 10:38 AM

Re: “Who Wants to Work on a Vermont Dairy Farm? A Reporter Spent a Week Finding Out

This is pretty disappointing. I had thought cows would have a slightly better life on a Vermont dairy farm. Guess not.

10 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by Creepyoldman on 03/19/2019 at 5:08 AM

Re: “Who Wants to Work on a Vermont Dairy Farm? A Reporter Spent a Week Finding Out

This isn't dairy farming, it's factory farming. The stuff of Orwellian nightmares. Exactly the reason my family will never consume grocery store meats or dairy again. We buy directly from small, family owned/family run farms where the animals are out in fields all day every day, winter & summer, eating grass & natural feeds not soaked in Monsanto Roundup poison and the people that work the farm aren't treated more like animals than the cows, pigs & chickens. Really can't imagine how they see this as a better life than in Mexico, being worked like slaves.

But I'm glad to hear that yet another thing our government blatantly wastes the other half of our paychecks on is keeping operations like this in business, no matter how despicable they are, buying all the disgusting milk & cheese that nobody wants, no matter how much is over produced by these investor owned factory farms.

18 likes, 23 dislikes
Posted by FreedomToThink on 03/18/2019 at 7:59 PM

Re: “Who Wants to Work on a Vermont Dairy Farm? A Reporter Spent a Week Finding Out

For years the Departments of Agriculture both state and federal have preached that bigger is better and the only way to farm. I know, they pitched that to me. Now they have a tiger by the tail: filthy conditions, filthy streams and lakes, cheap illegal immigrant labor, and it seems from the comments, angry neighbors.
Treating animals and the environment like this is immoral.
The cleanest dairy I ever saw relied on a lot of hand labor and milked 88 cows with one full time employee. The farmer made money not payments.

18 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Walter Moses on 03/18/2019 at 2:48 PM

Re: “Who Wants to Work on a Vermont Dairy Farm? A Reporter Spent a Week Finding Out

Great article Chelsea Edgar. One has to wonder about this farms care of their animals and quality of their product though. I enjoyed your honest and unvarnished writing.

9 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Marcouxr on 03/18/2019 at 12:45 PM

Re: “Who Wants to Work on a Vermont Dairy Farm? A Reporter Spent a Week Finding Out

Great reporting. Reminds me of Estrellita, an animated film by a Middlebury College professor and students about the experience of migrant workers.

3 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Estrellita on 03/18/2019 at 7:03 AM

Re: “Who Wants to Work on a Vermont Dairy Farm? A Reporter Spent a Week Finding Out

The author via Gerald reported 8500 gallons of milk being shipped to Cabot daily, to be turned into 640 lb blocks of cheddar. More specifically 8500 gallons of milk weighs approximately 85,000 lbs. Approx. Ten pounds of milk is required for 1 lb of cheese. So on each daily shipment, 8500 lbs of cheese could be yielded. Recognizing milk quality varies and so does cheese demand, and knowing other products may be made, if 8500 lbs of cheese were to be made and sold at near retail bottom $6/ a lb for premium Vermont Cheddar that is $51,000 of cheese from a days milking. My guess is that the farmers are lucky if they are being paid $16 per hundred weight, or approx $13,600 minus fees for 8500 gallons shipped. Cabot/Agrimark whomever.... has $37,400 of room to make, market and retail their product from one days milking at the Vorstevelds farm.

I do not know how much it costs to make cheese on Cabot's scale, but it is easy to assume they have a solid net revenue, while the Vorstevelds do not, and meanwhile Cabot and Agrimarks employees work in pristine, sanitary conditions; production rooms, labs and boardrooms,benefits and retirement pay. The typical Vermont dairy farm is running itself into the ground, taking its workers, animals and the environment along with it. Hoping for some form of public compensation, and exceptions to labor, animal welfare and environmental regulations.

I very much honor the dairy farming tradition, and know that farmers can be highly principled "conservationists", and preservationists, especially when generously profitable. A company nationally recognized with award winning products should be able to offer and demand parity throughout its supply and production chain, regardless of the "independent nature" of Vermont dairy farmers.

24 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Freedumb Also on 03/17/2019 at 1:26 PM

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