Working Lands conference set for Oct. 20

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WESTON — On Oct. 20, the 2017 Financing the Working Landscape conference will commence at the brand new $13.6 million Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm.

This free, all day conference provides Vermont small businesses in the agriculture, food, and forestry sectors unique one-on-one interactions with capital and service providers from across the state.

"Our foot is on the gas pedal when it comes to economic development," said Anson Tebbetts, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, who will be opening the conference. "We are committed to growing our economy and making Vermont more affordable. Conferences like this are critical so we can keep the rural economy headed in the right direction."

The agenda includes a panel discussion with financial lenders as well as a panel with four small businesses focusing on the question, "What does your business want to be when it grows up?" Attendees will gain a comprehensive understanding of the financial resources available to your small businesses that can help it get off the ground, grow to increase production or employee numbers, purchase new equipment, or transition to new ownership.

Afternoon breakout sessions will follow the structure of the business life cycle — development, startup, growth, expansion and succession — providing attendees resources and programs at each level of the cycle. Attendees will have access to one-on-one or small group discussions with capital and service providers that allow them to acutely explore answers to their questions specific to their business.

In addition to Tebbetts, guest speakers include Commissioner Michael Snyder of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation and Bob Hausslein, of Sugar Bob's Smoked Maple Syrup, winner of the 2017 Brattleboro Road Pitch Competition. Conference sponsors include USDA Rural Development, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, Vermont Agriculture Credit Corporation, Yankee Farm Credit, Vermont Community Loan Fund, Community Capital of Vermont, US Small Business Administration, and Vermont Farm Fund. Financing Working Landscapes is hosted by the Southern Vermont Economy Project in partnership with Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, Windham Regional Commission, Food Connects, Strolling of the Heifers, Bennington County Regional Commission, and Bennington County Industrial Corporation.

For the full agenda and registration information, visit www.brattleborodevelopment.com/2017fwl.

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