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Vermont bill looks to move more businesses beyond raw materials


MONTPELIER, Vt. — Turning milk into cheese, apples into cider and trees into furniture are the keys to keeping Vermont's working landscape vital in the future.

That's the idea behind a bill introduced Wednesday by a group of lawmakers and the Vermont Working Landscape Partnership, an offshoot of the Vermont Council on Rural Development.

The bill calls for a new fund to be set up, starting with $3 million in the first year and growing to $15 million a year, for loans and grants to small entrepreneurs who are trying to add value to the raw materials harvested in Vermont.

Put Blodgett of the Vermont Woodlands Association says one example of the problem the bill hopes to address is that lumber cut from Vermont sugar maples is often sent to Canada for processing.

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