Last week, Dairy Farmers of Vermont, a 315-member group of producers, lobbied the state legislature to help them purchase a milk processing plant. The facility would be used to bottle three things: a Vermont brand of milk, an organic brand of milk and milk from a company in neighboring western Massachusetts.

The group is looking at revitalizing a defunct processing plant to empower producers with the opportunity to control more of their market and bring more money to the farm gate.

Currently, a Senate-passed measure — the annual construction bill — authorizes the Vermont Economic Development Authority to invest $500,000 in the endeavor. A House-passed version does not include the provision. However, institutions committee members of the two legislative bodies are working to coordinate the bills.

Ultimately, the processing plant is expected to cost $5 million; producers would invest $750,000, with the balance of funding coming from bank loans. However, supporters say the half-million state investment would help tremendously.

The Barre Montpelier Times Argus