Keep Local Farms’ program launched in Richmond, Vermont

first_imgYesterday, New England state agriculture leaders joined forces with dairy promotion organizations to launch the Keep Local Farms program. Inspired by the Fair Trade concept, Keep Local Farms will help to get more money directly to dairy farmers while creating stronger connections between farmers and their customers.  The program is an effort to ensure dairy farmers in the Northeast are paid a sustainable price for their milk and to provide consumers with a way to support local dairy farmers, their community and the local economy. The Keep Local Farms program is a creative and innovative approach to help our struggling dairy farmers in a very difficult economic environment. Vermonters are committed to helping preserve our dairy heritage and this program is one way we all can contribute.  I look forward to the seeing the Keep Local Farms program succeed, said Governor Douglas.The Problem:Dairy farmers all across the Northeast and the nation are struggling to survive due to the low prices they are paid for their milk and the high cost to produce milk. Most consumers are not aware that a dairy farmer currently gets about .97 cents per gallon of milk while it costs about $1.80 to produce. This is not sustainable and threatens to undermine the dairy industry in the Northeast.  Our dairy farmers are the backbone of agriculture in Vermont. They are stewards of the land and contribute significantly to our economy and way of life, said Roger Allbee, Vermont Secretary of Agriculture. There is not a dairy farmer in the state who has not been impacted by this crisis and while not a silver bullet, Keep Local Farms is a way for people to support this important industry and help dairy farmers get a more equitable price for their product.What s at Stake:The dairy industry in New England has a significant economic impact on the region. The milk produced on these farms is valued at $12.2 billion, and creates over $5 billion in economic activity.  There are approximately 1880 farms in New England and 99 percent of them are small, with fewer than 100 cows per farm. Nonetheless, they provide upwards of 22,000 jobs in the dairy industry, including farming, farm supply businesses, milk haulers, processors, marketers, farm service firms and agencies. With the current issues affecting dairy farmers it is important to launch this program now to build the fund to assist dairy farmers and keep working toward the ultimate goal of co-branding, stated Roger Allbee, Secretary of Agriculture and Chair of the Vermont Dairy Promotion Council. Consumers Vote with Their Dollars:Consumers play an essential role in the Keep Local Farms program and the future viability of dairy farmers in the region.  In addition to purchasing nutrient-rich dairy products at the store, Keep Local Farms allows consumers to contribute directly to dairy farmers through the Keep Local Farms website (KeepLocalFarms.org) and in the future, through co-branded dairy products.By contributing to a fund that will be shared with farmers of the Northeast, consumers can help guarantee a fair wage for dairy farmers and support the fresh, local food network they help to sustain.   We encourage consumers to purchase and enjoy nutritious, high quality and dairy products from our New England dairy farms, stated Darryl Williams, Dairy Farmer and board member of the New England Family Dairy Farm Cooperative, And if consumers would like to do more to support dairy farmers the Keep Local Farms program helps them do that.The Keep Local Farms program will grow through partnerships with retailers, organizations, colleges/universities and businesses that share the core values of support for local farms, community, economy and you the consumer.  These are partners who value farms, local foods and sustainable business practices. For more information on the Keep Local Farms program please visit keeplocalfarms.org or call 877-388-7381. Keep Local Farms is a partnership between the Vermont Dairy Promotion Council, the New England Family Dairy Farm Cooperative with Cooperative Development Institute, and the New England Dairy Promotion Board.Source: VT Agency of Agriculture. Richmond, Vermont September 14, 2009last_img read more

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Vermont Field House becomes first net-zero energy secondary school building in nation

first_imgThe Putney School, a college preparatory boarding high school in southern Vermont, cut the ribbon Saturday on its 16,800 square foot net-zero energy field house that will produce as much energy as it uses over the course of a year.There are only a handful of net-zero energy buildings in the United States—The Putney School Field House is the nation’s first net-zero energy secondary school building and Vermont’s first commercial net-zero energy building. Of the project’s $6 million budget, $5.1 million was spent on building construction.“We want to show the world that net-zero energy technology for public buildings exists right now,” says Putney School Director Emily Jones. “It’s time to move net-zero energy buildings from the theoretical realm into reality.”By definition, net-zero energy buildings generate as much energy as they consume over the course of a year. The energy used is usually produced on-site and comes from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, or biomass. These buildings are designed to minimize the use of natural resources and energy. According to Architect Bill Maclay, whose firm designed The Putney School Field House, such buildings not only protect the environment by minimizing energy use and reducing the need for outside (fossil fuel- based) energy sources, they pay for themselves through improved efficiency and lower operating costs and help avoid the risks associated with fuel price volatility. Over the course of a year, the total energy bill will be zero.“There are only a handful of net-zero energy buildings in the nation,” says Bill Maclay, president and founder of Maclay Architects. “Our hope is that this will be one of the first of many such buildings. This will show the world that our buildings can—and should—be built to meet much stronger energy standards to not only protect the environment but also to improve an organization’s bottom line.”The super-insulated, super-energy-efficient building will use the sun for its heating (including passive solar) and electricity needs. Sixteen sun-tracking photovoltaic solar panels will power the building and, in an average year, will enable the building to do better than break even on its energy use. During the winter months the building will draw electricity from the grid. During sunny months, the photovoltaic cells will feed excess energy back into the grid. According to Project Architect Bill Gallup, in addition to paying no energy bill, The Putney School will actually receive 6 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity fed back (net-metered) into the grid.“This spacious building will be both a snapshot of sustainable building technology at this point in history and an educational tool for other schools whose curricula include sustainability,” says Putney School CFO Randy Smith.The Putney School will have real-time energy monitoring data available to the public on their website when the building is certified for occupancy in November 2009.In addition to being the first net-zero energy secondary school building in the nation, the design team anticipates that The Putney School Field House will be one of only five platinum (the highest possible rating) LEED-certified school buildings in the country. LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the nationally-accepted standard and rating system for high performance (green) buildings developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.For more information, visit: www.putneyfieldhouse.org(link is external).About The Putney School:The Putney School is a boarding and day high school in southeastern Vermont situated on a 500-acre working dairy farm run by the students, in addition to a normal class day. Founded by Carmelita Hinton in 1935, The Putney School remains dedicated to progressive education as a better way of preparing young men and women for college and a sustainable future. For more information on The Putney School or Putney School Summer Programs, visit www.putneyschool.org(link is external).About Maclay Architects:Founded in 1982, Maclay Architects is a Vermont-based architectural firm specializing in innovative, sustainable design for individuals, businesses and organizations seeking to create vibrant places for life, work and play. Firm founder and president, William Maclay, has worked in sustainable design since 1971, bringing his lifelong passion for the environment into his work through the design and creation of beautiful, sustainable buildings. Through its team of LEED-accredited professionals, the firm offers a full-range of architectural services for all phases of residential, commercial and institutional projects. For more information, visit www.maclayarchitects.com(link is external). Source: The Putney School, Vermont.# # #last_img read more

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Vermont participates in financial fluency pilot project

first_imgFour Vermont public schools will join more than a dozen schools located throughout New England to test a new financial fluency program that teaches financial concepts within a math-based curriculum. The aim is to help educators develop new approaches to offering students instruction in personal finance.Teachers at Bellows Falls Union High School, St. Albans City School, Twinfield Union High School and U32 High School started testing a six-lesson curriculum in late April. The lessons focus on budgeting, including ratios and proportions, and the power of compounding interest as applied to credit cards and investments. Case studies in the final lessons challenge students to apply what they have learned to individuals in financial trouble or who have poor personal finance habits.‘While schools recognize the value of this subject area, it is challenging to find a place in the curriculum that will reach all students,’ said State Treasurer Beth Pearce. ‘This pilot project tests teaching these concepts through math’a subject students are already taking. It is hoped that the results of this pilot will give educators useful information in their continued evaluation of effective approaches to teaching personal finance.’The financial fluency pilot project is a joint effort of the non-profit Valmo Villages and its leader Valerie Mosley and an economics education team from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Testing of the curriculum in Vermont began the week of April 25 and will continue through early May. A student pre- and post- test will help educators gauge the effectiveness of the curriculum and explore ways to improve teaching approaches.St. Albans City School math teacher John Cioffi is coordinating the pilot project with three teams of teachers working with approximately 160 seventh and eighth grade students. The lessons are being offered as part of their grade-level math instruction.‘I have seen the passing attempts at educating our students on financial matters. Generally, the attempts are vague and do not stick with the students,’ explained Cioffi. ‘This program provides the opportunity to integrate the mathematical knowledge of linear and non-linear relationships with the life skills of managing money. The case study approach matches the style of my learning community.’At Bellows Falls Union High School, math teacher Susan Swan will present the lessons to students enrolled in math applications and in AP calculus. U32 High School will test the curriculum in their ‘Money Matters’ course. Math teacher Kit Walker said her students are especially responding to the case studies where they must come up with practical ideas to help the fictional characters solve his or her financial dilemmas.Math teacher Charlie Wanzer of Twinfield Union High School is introducing the material to students enrolled in a class called ‘post- high school math.’‘In this day and age it is important that students be knowledgeable about the financial forces that will impact them when they graduate. Be it student loans or credit cards, students will find that financial realities can be harsh and they must be prepared to handle them,’ said Wanzer.Following the pilot test, developers will evaluate the results from all of the schools across New England. Plans are to continue to refine the curriculum and offer the financial fluency lesson plans to states outside of the New England area.‘We recognize the strong contributions of our Vermont school partners in helping to create a new national model for financial education in our schools,’ said Valerie Mosley, who was inspired to create the program two years ago. ‘Once students understand the math behind how money, investing and financial decisions work, it engages students, makes math relevant, and prepares our young for a bright, financially sound future.’The curriculum is grouped as follows: lesson one ‘ budgeting and saving; lesson two ‘ compounding interest; lesson three ‘ credit cards; lesson four ‘ investing; lessons five and six ‘ interactive case studies.‘While both parents and teachers agree that personal money management is something that we should be teaching our children, how best to do this remains a challenge,’ said Lisa Helme, director of financial literacy and communications for the State Treasurer’s Office. ‘Parents need support in talking to their kids about money, especially as our financial system becomes more complex. Teachers recognize the importance of the subject, but question where, in an already crowded curriculum, can this subject be taught. The results of the pilot will demonstrate whether this is an effective way of reaching every student.’Additional collaborators in the financial fluency project include the Center for Mathematics and Quantitative Education at Dartmouth College, EdTech Leaders Online, Mathematics for All, Leadership Teachers & the Center for Real World Education and the American Life Panel at the Rand Corporation.last_img read more

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Ledyard Financial Group reports Q3 results

first_imgTotal Risk Based Capital Ratio $0.31 $1.88Dividends Per Common Share $0.31 38,024,589 9/30/2010 203,832,466 126,107,548 $3,285,346 $3,681,651 $35.49 $395,587,820 $0.56 16.93% $0.62 2,277,068Net Interest Income 3.02% Non-performing Assets as a % of Total Assets 8,640,085 9,053,941Provision for Loan Losses 575,000 632,276 For the Three Months Ended 9/30/2011 2,063,173 $379,199,577 FHLB Advances & Other Borrowings 3,900,322 9/30/2010Total Interest Income 450,000Non-interest Income HANOVER, N.H.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– 11.1.11 11,824,960Net Income As of 09/30/2011 202,068,471 Ledyard National Bank,Ledyard Financial Group, Inc. (ticker symbol LFGP), the holding company for Ledyard National Bank, today reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2011. Net income for the quarter ended September 30, 2011, was $576,597, or $0.56 per share compared to $632,276 or $0.62 per share for the same period in 2010, a decrease of $55,679 or 8.81%. Net income for the nine months ended September 30, 2011, was $1,918,738, or $1.86 per share compared to $1,927,036, or $1.88 per share for the same period in 2010, a decrease of $8,297. The Company continues to be impacted by a slowdown in lending activity due to general economic conditions. In addition, the third quarter results in 2011 were impacted by an addition to the allowance for loan losses (’Allowance’), increased expenses associated with non-performing loans, and the charge off noted below relating to a single loan taken this quarter.Our total revenue for the quarter ended September 30, 2011, was $4,864,857, compared to $4,940,398 for the same period in 2010. Total revenue for the nine months ended September 30, 2011, was $15,344,526 compared to $14,879,645, an increase of $464,881 or 3.12%. Net interest income for the quarter ended September 30, 2011, was $2,801,685, compared to $2,953,522 for the same period in 2010, for a decrease of $151,837 or 5.14%. Net interest income for the nine months ended September 30, 2011, was $8,640,085 compared to $9,053,941 for the same period in 2010, for a decrease of $413,856 or 4.57%. The primary factors contributing to the decrease in net interest income have been the slowdown in loan demand and the low level of interest rates.For the quarter ended September 30, 2011, $150,000 was added to the Allowance compared to $150,000 for the same period in 2010. For the nine months ended September 30, 2011, $575,000 was added to the Allowance compared to $450,000 for the same period in 2010. Net charge-offs for the nine months ending September 30, 2001 were $1,286,670, compared to $495,830 for the comparable period in 2010. The total Allowance was $5.6 million at September 30, 2011, compared to $6.3 million for the same period in 2010. Total non-performing assets were $5 million at September 30, 2011, compared to $5.9 million for the same period in 2010. During the third quarter of 2011 $400,000 from an individual loan was charged-off (bringing the total charge offs for this loan to $1.2 million for the year] and is included in the net charge-off totals for 2011.Ledyard Financial Advisors, a division of Ledyard National Bank, reported revenue for the quarter ended September 30, 2011, of $1,706,978, compared to $1,512,365 for the same period in 2010, an increase of $194,613 or 12.87%. Revenue for the nine months ended September 30, 2011 was $5,134,355, compared to $4,500,138 for the same period in 2010, for an increase of $634,217 or 14.09%. Assets under management and custody at Ledyard Financial Advisors totaled $838 million as of quarter end, an increase of $25 million over the prior year.Non-interest expense for the quarter ended September 30, 2011, was $3,935,360, compared to $3,900,322 for the same period in 2010, for an increase of $35,038 or .90%. Non-interest expense for the nine months ended September 30, 2011, was $12,169,588 compared to $11,824,960 for the same period in 2010, for an increase of $344,628 or 2.91%. The majority of the increase was due to increases in salary and employee benefits in addition to increased expenses associated with the problem loan noted above. Increased staffing expense is due to additions to staff at Ledyard Financial Advisors, as we continue to invest in our core businesses. Increased health care costs contributed to the increase in employee benefits.At September 30, 2011, the Company’s shareholders’ equity stood at $36.6 million, compared to $34.8 million for the same period in 2010. All of the Company’s capital ratios are well in excess of the amount required by the Federal Reserve for a bank holding company to be considered ‘well capitalized.’ At September 30, 2011, the Company’s book value per share stood at $35.49 compared to $33.92 for the same period in 2010.Loans, net of the allowance for loan losses at September 30, 2011, were $203.8 million, compared to $202.1 for the same period last year. Total deposits at September 30, 2011 were $302.4 million, a decrease of $7.5 million from the same period last year. Total assets of the Company were $379.2 million at September 30, 2011, a decrease of $16.4 million over the prior year. Advances from the Federal Home Loan Bank decreased by $7.0 million from $26.9 million at September 30, 2010 to $19.9 million at September 30, 2011.Due to its strong financial position, the Company has been able to maintain or increase its quarterly dividend since first declaring a dividend in 1995. Most recently, a quarterly cash dividend of $.31 per share was declared on October 28, 2011, to shareholders of record as of November 14, 2011, payable December 2, 2011.Ledyard Financial Group, Inc., headquartered in Hanover, New Hampshire, is the holding company for Ledyard National Bank. Ledyard National Bank, founded in 1991, is a full service community bank offering a broad range of banking, investment, tax and wealth management services in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region. Ledyard National Bank has eight offices with locations in Hanover, Lebanon, Lyme, New London, and West Lebanon, New Hampshire and in Norwich, Vermont.Ledyard Financial Group, Inc. shares can be bought and sold through the NASD sanctioned ‘OTC Markets’ under the trading symbol LFGP. Shares may be traded through an individual’s broker. For more information, please refer to the ‘Investor Relations’ section of the bank’s website at www.ledyardbank.com(link is external) or contact the Company’s Chief Financial Officer, Gregory D. Steverson. 150,000 483,662 302,373,239 Loans Receivable, net 1,927,036Earnings Per Common Share, basic 309,854,800 Allowance for Loan Losses 576,597 36,589,231 49,542,920 As of 09/30/2010 6,704,441 3,935,360 1.50% Non-performing Assets $0.93 136,722,119 $1.86 2.67% 5,825,704Non-interest Expense 12,169,588 34,773,626 Total Deposits 16.35% $0.93 2,953,522 $6,299,760 1,918,738 150,000 1,986,876 For the Nine Months Ended $5,594,452 $5,926,876 Book Value per Common Share Outstanding 1,571,625 $11,331,009Total Interest Expense $4,980,884 $33.92 Investment Securities 1.31% Ledyard Financial Group, Inc.Selected Financial Highlights(Unaudited) 9/30/2011 2,801,685 Stockholder’s Equity Allowance as a % of Total Loans $10,211,710 Total Assets 728,129last_img read more

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