Sustainable Dairy Products: Northeast Summit February 12th in Norwich

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The Sustainable Dairy Products: Northeast Summit, to be held February 12th in Norwich. Photo Credit: NEWMOA

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources is promoting best environmental practices as an economic development tool. A typical tourist trip to Vermont might include hiking on the Long Trail, skiing at one of our many resorts, fishing for wild brook trout, visiting a farm, and sampling some of the finest cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. People come to Vermont because it represents a vibrant counterpoint to the narrative, so prevalent elsewhere, that agriculture and the environment cannot coexist. Here in Vermont, environmental and agricultural excellence can be mutually reinforcing.

The Sustainable Dairy Products: Northeast Summit, to be held February 12th in Norwich, will dive into effective strategies to strengthen businesses by going green. The Summit will provide a comprehensive look at energy efficiency, wastewater, cleaning/sanitation, and pollution prevention, and bring together experts, organizations, and other resources to help dairy processors flourish economically and environmentally. 

“No industry better exemplifies the importance of getting environment, agriculture, and economy right than the dairy industry, which accounts for 7% of the Vermont economy. Building on the continued effort of the industry, we will see even greater results,” said Anson Tebbetts, Secretary of the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (AAFM).

Value-added dairy products like cheese and yogurt are a growing sector in Vermont. Many new manufacturers are emerging, and many farmers are exploring value-added products as a source of additional revenue to help maintain the viability of family farms. “As dairy products businesses start and grow, they face many questions about how to reduce their environmental impact through best practices and compliance,” said Tom Bivins, Executive Director of the Vermont Cheese Council. The Summit will help answer those questions and will show how even smaller operations have opportunities to cut waste and adopt more sustainable production methods that save money.

The Summit is one example of how Vermont’s state agencies are reaching out to help food manufacturers. It is part of a growing partnership between the Agency of Natural Resources and AAFM that reflects the interdependence of agricultural, environmental, and economic prosperity, andthe importance of environmentally sustainable operations that strengthen the Vermont brand.

Processors in nearby states are invited to the Summit. “Vermont is a nationally-recognized agricultural and environmental leader; other parts of the northeast want to learn how to foster a dairy products sector that reflects the values of environmental sustainability, local food, and vibrant economies,” said Terri Goldberg, Executive Director of the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA), which is co-hosting the Summit. “We are collaborating with Vermont on the Summit to support our sustainability and pollution prevention mission and to better leverage expertise across the region.”

The Summit is just a starting point. Through its Environmental Assistance Office, the Department of Environmental Conservation will continue to help dairy products manufacturers understand regulatory requirements and improve practices, through site visits, online workshops, and other outreach.

For more information and to register to attend the Sustainable Dairy Products: Northeast Summit, visit www.eaovt.org.

Sustainable Dairy Products: Northeast Summit

Monday, February 12, 2018 

8:30am

Registration / Continental Breakfast (Provided)

9:00am

Welcome

  • Emily Boedecker, VT DEC Commissioner

9:10am

Opening Remarks

Learn how to go beyond regulatory minimums, to capture the financial benefits of environmental sustainability.

  • Julie Moore, VT ANR Secretary 
  • Anson Tebbetts, VT AAFM Secretary 
  • Ted Brady, VT ACCD Deputy Secretary

With the trend towards consumers seeking “greener” products and services,processors can gain a competitive edge by implementing sustainable practices.

10:00am

Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool

Self-assessment is the first step in identifying potential areas for sustainability improvements. In this interactive session, attendees will be guided through use of the self-assessment tool to help them "pick a place to start."

10:30am

Break

Meet your neighbor; vendor fair.

10:45am

Profiles in Sustainability

Moderator: Tim Perrin, Efficiency VT

Businesses share their stories about how they have implemented greener practices in energy, waste, wastewater, and packaging. Presenters will describe how they evaluated potential actions, financial considerations, and critical partnerships.

Speakers:

12:00pm

Lunch (Provided)

Lunch remarks from EPA Region 1 @12:30pm

Vendor fair and networking

1:15pm

Innovative Sustainability Solutions

Moderator: Laura Ginsburg, VT AAFM

This session will focus on how businesses can refine their understanding of opportunities for improvement through sustainability audits and customized research to identify promising solutions that fit specific needs. The session will include a description of one business where the solution was equal parts technology and creative partnership.

Speakers:

2:30pm

Break

2:45pm

Ready to Grow?

Good business planning is the first step to sustainability. The key to making any sustainability project or business initiative a success is knowing not just what you want to do, but how you are going to do it. This session will discuss the importance of business planning, and critical issues you should be thinking about before beginning a project. Other important assistance providers who can help you get your project off to a good start will give brief elevator pitches.

Other service providers:

  • John Fay, VT DEC Permit Specialist
  • Abbey Willard, VT AAFM Division Director
  • Shawn Barth, Occupational Safety Consultant, VT Department of Labor
  • Todd Cosgrove, Hazardous Materials Chief, VT Department of Public Safety

3:30pm

Closing Remarks

  • Andy Bray, Project Manager, NEWMOA

3:45pm

Vendor Fair & Networking

4:30pm

Adjourn

 

Source: Agency of Natural Resources 2.6.2018

Date: 
Monday, February 12, 2018 - 8:30am