Summit highlights importance of dairy to Vermont's economy

Business, state and agricultural officials are highlighting the importance of the dairy industry to Vermont's economy.

The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce and DairyVision Vermont, which provides funding and technical assistance to farmers, co-hosted a dairy summit in Burlington on Thursday.

Tom Torti, head the chamber, says dairy is as much a part of the economic fabric of the state economy as the technology industry and tourism.

Officials say Vermont dairy brings in $2.2 billion in economic activity to the state each year and makes up 70 percent of the state's agricultural sales.

They also say Vermont produces about 63 percent of the milk produced in New England and dairy farms take up 15 percent of the land in the state.

Largest New Hampshire public employee union backs Sanders

New Hampshire's largest public employee labor union is backing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary, bucking its national affiliate's endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

The State Employees' Association/SEIU Local 1984 represents 11,500 workers across New Hampshire. President Richard Gulla says the chapter is backing Sanders because of his support for maintaining retirement benefits, lowering college costs, better wages for workers and his willingness to take on Wall Street.


The parent Service Employees International Union, which represents 2 million health care workers, recently endorsed Clinton — delivering a blow to Sanders.

The local chapter will spend most of its efforts communicating the endorsement to members and encouraging them to volunteer or help with Sanders' campaign here. It cannot form its own political action committee for federal spending.

– The Associated Press