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Working the land


Editorial by David Moats, Rutland Herald/Times-Argus, 2/5/2012 ~ Vermonters from one end of the state to the other, of all political persuasions and demographic groups, rank the vitality and beauty of Vermont’s working landscape as one of their most important values.

This view emerged from wide-ranging, in-depth statewide discussions with hundreds of Vermonters carried out by the Vermont Council on Rural Development. Paul Costello, executive director of the council, said the discussions that he led around the state were the “largest systematic analysis” of the views of Vermonters ever undertaken and that the value of the working landscape emerged as a dominant priority for Vermonters.

Legislators are now considering a bill that would establish a program to serve the interests of the state’s working landscape, helping to foster development of agricultural- and forestry-related enterprises through a new Working Lands Enterprise Board. The new program would seek to leverage new investments in rural enterprises with a fund of state money that would begin with an appropriation of $3 million.