Dear Network Friends,

I hope you have had some time to enjoy the fall colors as they spread through Vermont. I’ve been fortunate to get out in the woods lately, and into some sawmills and woodshops as part of several day tours of forest economy businesses with the Forest Economy Study Group, a group of Vermont legislators interested in learning more about Vermont’s forest and wood products supply chains, and ways that policymakers can help strengthen our forest economy. It has been terrific to meet (in person!) and hear from the people and businesses that help keep our forests as forests. The group hopes to take what they learn and apply it to policy decisions in the coming legislative session.

Another effort taking center stage this fall is a Climate Action Plan being developed by the Vermont Climate Council, a government-appointed group tasked with developing recommendations that will reduce Vermont’s fossil fuel emissions per the Global Warming Solutions Act enacted into law last year. This is a major undertaking and will impact all aspects of Vermont’s economy. A recent Zoom meeting focused on soliciting ideas from our forest and wood products industry, and public comments are welcome throughout this process. Among those participating in the Council’s work is Charlie Hancock, a consulting forester, and a member of the Vermont Forest Industry Network Steering Committee. He sits on the Agriculture and Ecosystems Subcommittee and welcomes your feedback on the Council’s work. This website has some good information for following the process.

For those of you in Vermont considering making new investments in your forest economy business, new working lands business grants are available this fall to help you make strategic investments in your business. The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative is currently seeking business, supply chain, and market-level infrastructure grant applicants. Click here to learn more. If you need assistance with the process, please email me and I can connect you with folks who can help.

Speaking of money, fall is an ideal time to review your finances, both personal and business. As small business owners, one of the best strategies you can employ to reduce money stress is to get organized and create a plan. It’s easier said than done, so if you are looking for ways to improve your personal and business finances, we have a new webinar series that is here to help. Personal Finance for Small Business is a two-part online class for small business owners that will help you get control of your money so you can be more strategic in your business and your life. Click here to learn more and sign up for one of two free 2-part classes being offered in October and November.

I hope you will find time in the coming days to stop and take in the changing colors of our incredible Green Mountains. Peak foliage is just around the corner.

Stay safe out there,