Source: Governor’s office.### Governor Jim Douglas and Vermont Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee will visit France in early September as guests of the French government and at the request of the French Embassy. The purpose of the visit is to investigate potential markets, export/import opportunities and resource exchange for Vermont agricultural producers. Building on a long history of shared agricultural practices and methodology, this study tour will facilitate an exchange of ideas and systems that can mutually benefit both countries.“France has a system in place based on geographic indicators supporting its agriculture industry and that fosters economic development. Vermont is in a unique position to move forward with a similar model,” said Governor Douglas. “Through this system of “terrior” or taste of place, France has been able to better isolate themselves from commodity pricing in food production – similar to what many Vermont producers are trying to accomplish here.”In the past few years, there has been great consumer demand for and support of the Buy Local initiative in Vermont. A taste of place or geographical indicator within the state’s food systems is a logical next step. “As people become more concerned about knowing where their food comes from and how it is grown, this model could have significant and positive economic impacts for Vermont producers,” Governor Douglas said. “We need to continue to do everything we can to support Vermont agriculture, and that includes exploring new opportunities and learning from successes elsewhere,” he added.Vermont and France have many similar characteristics agriculturally. Vermont is now known for its artisanal cheeses – many of them national and international award winners. Cheesemaking is a value-added, growth industry for the state. Many of Vermont’s artisanal cheesemakers owe their growth to France where they have studied the French model and brought those skills back home.And perhaps the best example of Vermont’s unique position to capitalize on the geographical indicator model is maple syrup. When people think about Vermont they think of maple. Not only are maple products value-added for producers, but they draws tourists from all over the world – further benefiting the Vermont economy.The study trip will involve meetings and exchanges with top level French agricultural officials including Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Agriculture and Michel Mercier, Minister of Rural Development.
Denmark’s Danica Pension is investing DKK1bn (€107m) in medium-sized businesses in Denmark, through direct investments, via a new fund.The fund, called GRO Fund, is being set up as an independent unit under Gro Capital, which will be managed by Lars Dybkjær, managing partner of private equity fund DKA Capital, the Danske Bank pensions subsidiary announced.Jacob Aarup-Andersen, Danica’s CFO, said: “Direct investment is a good match for our pension customers. “It offers attractive returns with an additional illiquidity premium and often long investment horizons.” Further, Danish growth companies are attractive to invest in, and the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector has great potential, Aarup-Andersen said.The fund would look for strong, innovative businesses to invest in.It will focus on minority investments in medium-sized companies, meeting the increasing need for capital in the sector, where a company’s owners do not want to give up control of their business.Danica said the investment was “a natural progression of Danica Pension’s enhanced focus on direct investment in mainly Danish and Nordic enterprises, in which we are planning a double-digit billion DKK investment over the coming years”.The fund’s focus also complements Danske Bank’s lending activities, it said. In the summer, Danica Pension announced a new investment strategy entailing the replacement of some its bond investments with direct investments in companies.Dybkjær said Danish enterprises were not short of loan capital, but they did need subordinated capital and equity for expansion. “It is this need the fund will address,” he said.The fund will typically invest between DKK50m and DKK200m in companies that have already demonstrated a viable business plan.“In other words, we are not looking to invest in start-ups,” Dybkjær said.“Enterprises with annual revenue of DKK150m are more are the segment we are interested in.” read more
Ireland will complete their World Cup qualifying campaign against Kazakhstan in Dublin on Tuesday evening knowing they have no chance of making it to Brazil next summer and with interim boss Noel King at the helm following the departure of Giovanni Trapattoni last month. They will return to competitive action next September as they embark upon their bid to reach the finals of Euro 2016 with a new manager in place, with the Football Association of Ireland currently scouring the field for a replacement for the 74-year-old Italian. Robbie Keane has called for Ireland to appoint a no-nonsense manager to help revive the nation’s fortunes. Martin O’Neill, Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane figure prominently on the list of potential candidates, but Robbie Keane has very definite ideas about the qualities required to make a success of the job. The 33-year-old Ireland captain said: “I want someone who is an honest manager who doesn’t mess around, understands how important it is to be involved in international level, someone who is very, very proud to be a manager and be proud of what we are trying to achieve in Ireland. “Someone who is honest and someone who has b**** and doesn’t take any s*** from anyone.” The LA Galaxy frontman, who is in line to win his 130th senior cap against the Kazakhs, played under McCarthy and alongside Roy Keane for his country and knows their merits well. He is also aware of what O’Neill would bring to the party, and would have no qualms over any of the trio if they were appointed. Keane said: “The names I have heard being mentioned, if any of them took over, I think everybody would be fairly happy. It could be any of those – I don’t know the answer to that. “I think it’s important whoever takes over it’s a fresh start for everybody, the whole country gets behind them and we wish them well whoever that may be.” The FAI, aided by the financial backing of businessman Denis O’Brien, invested heavily in a coach of international renown when they appointed Trapattoni, although his withering assessment of the country’s domestic football and his refusal to adopt a more expansive game did not go down well with his critics. Press Association But asked if the next manager should be Irish, Keane said: “As long as it’s the right man, it doesn’t matter. But of course, I think everybody at this stage now probably would want an Irish manager. “I think it’s probably clear and obvious to see that. It’s looking likely that it probably will be, it seems that way, anyway – that’s not me with inside information.” McCarthy, of course, guided Ireland to the 2002 World Cup finals in Japan and Korea, where his bust-up with the elder Keane in Saipan resulted in the then captain heading home. However, the man who currently wears the armband insists he would have no problem with McCarthy’s return. Keane said: “Mick is a great guy, a fantastic guy. Everything we have referenced, he comes into that mould. If it was Mick, if it was Martin O’Neill, Roy Keane, I don’t think you could go wrong with any of them, to be honest with you.” High performance director Ruud Dokter and former international Ray Houghton have been charged with the task of finding the right man, and have already spoken to a series of prospective candidates. But Keane has indicated that the current crop of players too would be only to happy to have some input if they were asked. He said: “Listen, you are not going to get anywhere in life if you don’t ask people their opinion and ask whatever you want to call them, experts or people who played. “There’s no harm in asking people and asking their opinion on things because you are only going to learn things and open your eyes to certain different things. “If anybody wants to ask any of the lads questions, I am sure they will be very open to listening to what people have to say and certainly give their opinion on what they feel. “But ultimately, the decision is down to the FAI. It’s their heads on the chopping block, if you like, if they don’t feel like they are making the right decision.” Whoever Trapattoni’s replacement proves to be, Keane will be available for selection with few thoughts of bringing his playing days to a close yet. The Dubliner, who has a national record 60 international goals to his name, said: “I will continue to play as long as I feel healthy.” But asked if he could see himself as Ireland manager one day, he replied: “Certainly not at the moment. “I still have, hopefully, a long way to go playing, but certainly in the future, if I take my coaching badges, which I will be doing. “But I’m sure that wouldn’t be for a long, long time – if I got the opportunity.” read more