A Vermont state bank comeback?

VT 3 DollarsWill the state of Vermont take control of its finances by creating a state owned Bank?

VTDigger  – Public banking advocates release economic study by Hilary Niles –  Nov. 5  2013

Excerpt – Advocates of public banking, so far unsuccessful in their quest to get the Vermont Legislature to study the possibility of setting up a state-owned bank, have taken the task upon themselves….

Flomenhoft said about $236.2 million of new credit could be created in the state, as well as 1,000 jobs and $100 million in savings. For the full report, see the document link below. )

The VT State Bank Study – vtbank-prelim11-4complete

Read VTD full article

Another interesting article on state owned banks from Mother Jones –

How the Nation’s Only State-Owned Bank Became the Envy of Wall Street —By Josh Harkinson  –  2009

Excerpt – The Bank of North Dakota is the only state-owned bank in America…. It was created 90 years ago, in 1919…. we have specifically designed programs to spur certain elements of the economy. Whether it’s agriculture or economic development programs that are deemed necessary in the state or energy, which now seems to be a huge play in the state.

What do private banks think of you?

The interesting thing about the bank is we understand that we walk a fine line between competing and partnering with the private sector. We were designed and set up to partner with them and not compete with them….

We also provide a dividend back to the state. Probably this year we’ll make somewhere north of $60 million, and we will turn over about half of our profits back to the state general fund. And so over the last 10, 12 years, we’ve turned back a third of a billion dollars just to the general fund to offset taxes or to aid in funding public sector types of needs.

Not bad for a state with a population of 600,000.

Read MJ  full article

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Rural VT update Nov. 5th

 In this update:
Dear Members & Friends:
> Today (Nov. 5), Washington state will tally up the votes for I-522, the citizens’ ballot initiative that, if passed, will require labeling of genetically engineered food. Right now, the vote is too close to call with the YES on I-522 campaign being outspent more than 3 to 1 by the bio-tech and industrial food companies. This has been the most expensive ballot initiative campaign in WA state history and the WA state Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against the Grocery Manufacturers Association for campaign finance violations. Here’s hoping the voters of Washington state can see through the fear and confusion that is being broadcast and grant themselves the right to know what is in their food!
> Sat Nov. 9th, I hope you’ll join me and other activists at the Vermont Environmental Summit at VT Technical College in Randolph. Regardless of the outcome in WA state, I will be working with other members of the VT Right to Know GMOs Coalition to share our strategy to pass VT’s GMO labeling bill in 2014. Stonyfield Yogurt founder and “Just Label It” spokesperson Gary Hirshberg will be the keynote presenter. With other organizers, I will also be offering tips on how you can be a powerful citizen advocate in the Vermont State House this winter. We’re expecting a full court press from the same interests who have been spending so much money to prevent labeling efforts across the country. PLEASE NOTE: Because we are a co-sponsor of the Summit,  members of Rural Vermont can attend the day-long event, which includes lunch, for just $15 if you register by Thurs. at 5PM.
> November 15 is the deadline for comments to the FDA on their proposed rules to implement the Food Modernization and Safety Act (FSMA). Why should you care about this? Well, it has become apparent, through careful reading of the draft rules (by others much smarter than me), that they contain confusing and in some cases obscure provisions that could make it virtually impossible for small diversified farms to sell good local food and be economically viable. Thanks to the work of UVM’s Vern Grubinger, as well as folks at NOFA-VT, New England Farmers’ Union and the VT Agency of Agriculture, we have pulled together some of the best analysis of what you need to know and what you CAN do to add your voice to the protest over how these proposed rules could devastate small scale agriculture in Vermont.
This is complicated and “wonky” stuff but I can’t stress how important it is for Vermont’s small-scale family farms to participate in this action now. See below for details and feel free to contact me with questions. 
Finally, to end on an upbeat note – we are grateful to the over 60 raw milk producers who joined us last Sunday (Oct. 27) at the Bethel Town Hall for a very productive and inspiring Raw Milk Producers’ Summit. I hope you will read on for Rural Vermont member and activist Katie Spring’s first-hand account of this great gathering.
Let’s get organized!
P.S. For some really inspiring words from our unofficial farmer “Poet Laureate,” I urge you to check out Bill Moyers’ recent interview with Wendell Berry. 


“FSMA” stands for Food Safety and Modernization Act and it is a law that was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2011. It represents the most comprehensive set of changes to food safety laws passed since the 1930s.

At the time it was being debated in Congress, Rural Vermont supported FSMA because the assumption was that most small-scale farms would fall under exemptions to its major provisions. As with almost all rules that come out of DC, things have changed.

Now, more than two years later, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), which was given broad authority to implement FSMA, has set a deadline of November 15 for the submission of comments on two DRAFT rules it has prepared.

Although the purpose of FSMA was ostensibly to address post-Sept. 11 security concerns and the increasing frequency of food-bourne illnesses in the U.S. food system, it now looks like the proposed rules could radically restrict the kind of community-scale agricultural production and food processing that has been encouraged and is, in many ways, flourishing in Vermont and around New England. The rules, as currently proposed, have the potential to be very damaging to many farms – especially those who are focused on veggies and fruits.



It has become clear that only if a lot of potentially affected farmers weigh in with specific comments about how they will be impacted, will the FDA be convinced that they need to make changes to these rules. There is some hope that they can at least be convinced to issue another draft set of rules based on this round of comments before making the rules final.
We have assembled a list of informational resources on our website and we strongly encourage you to take some time to read these materials and then compose your own comments that relate directly to how your farming operation would be affected by the proposed FSMA rules.