Roger Allbee

Congressional representation matters to Vermont

As a student of Vermont history and especially that pertaining to agriculture, land use, and the environment, I know of the importance of sending a person to Congress who understands Vermont.

Next year, it will be the first time in my lifetime that Vermont, with the retirement of Sen. Patrick Leahy, will not have anyone in a senior position on the agriculture committees of the U.S. Congress during consideration of the next five-year farm bill.

These farm bills are critical for a state like Vermont, as demonstrated by Sen. Leahy, the late Sen. George Aiken, and the late Jim Jeffords, who served in both the House and Senate.

This legislation not only addresses farm policies but also nutrition, land use, and environmental issues. Vermont has benefited immensely over many years from the work of these seasoned elected officials.

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Bold leadership needed to reconcile economic, environmental sustainability of dairy farms

Despite continued struggle, efforts over the last year have addressed a common vision for the future

I read with interest a recent editorial in the Addison County Independent, which concluded that the objective should be to find a common cause with a plan that allows our rural communities and our farmers to build a sustainable future. Doing so will require bold leadership at all levels...

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Supporting the cow on the state seal

Dairying has always been a disruptive industry, but Vermont’s dairy farms are facing more pressure than ever on their bottom lines

Vermont's state seal is the only one in the country that recognizes dairy. Plows appear on 13 and sheaves of wheat on nine, but Vermont stands alone in its recognition of the dairy industry. But what is happening in our dairy sector today is well-documented: the declining consumption of...

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A vanishing breed in health care

Like many, I grew up in a small rural Vermont community where the country doctor was king. No matter the time of day or evening, our doctor could be contacted, and if the problem was severe, a visit to the home would be in order. The country doctors of my early youth knew and treated every member of the family, from birth to death, and the minutes or hours spent with a patient was not a criterion; better treatment and...

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Investing in energy efficiency makes good sense for hospital

As a major health-care provider in Windham County, we'd like to share a recent success story that demonstrates how investing in energy efficiency has helped us provide better care to our community by reducing our operating costs while providing better comfort to our patients and staff. At Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital, our vision is to provide excellent patient-centered care and to preserve and prolong the well-being of the whole community. In order to do this, we need to...

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Raise a (milk) glass to dairy

We celebrate Vermont's dairy industry for many reasons. We know that dairy brings in $2.2 billion to the state's economy and accounts for 70 percent of agricultural sales. Jobs - 6,000 to 7,000 of them - in our state depend on dairy. In addition, New England depends on the state's milk production, with 63 percent of the region's supply coming from farms in Vermont. The commercial dairy industry in Vermont did not begin until the demise of the world-renowned Merino...

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Our prized asset

Vermont's environmental heritage has been defined over time, and today it is being tested or challenged by goals to have the state have 90 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. A special recent report on VTDigger, “Tax breaks drive Vermont's solar gold rush,” indicates that solar developers have their eyes on Vermont due to these additional incentives. Can this expansion of solar, and even wind on our ridgelines, be compatible with articulated environmental and land-use goals? It...

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Renaissance man

Governor Frederick Holbrook was a Renaissance man, an agriculturalist, and an inventor; his role as a farmer was his love and avocation. The farming population, he believed, should be the basic social and economic unit of the country. In his early life in Windham County, “he worked upon the farm and knew what was meant by manual labor,” wrote Brattleboro historian Mary Rogers Cabot. Holbrook's accomplishments were many, and he ranked near the top of those noted agriculturalists of his...

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