Governor Phil Scott recently announced the appointment of two South Burlington residents to a state council and commission. Linda Berlin has been appointed to the Vermont Milk Commission, and Corey Cenate to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
With a Master of Science degree from Cornell University, Berlin earned her Ph.D. from Tufts University in 2006. She is currently the director of the University of Vermont’s Center for Sustainable Agriculture, where she works with individuals and communities across Vermont. In addition, Berlin is a UVM Extension associate professor, as well as part of their leadership team.
“I am honored to serve on the milk commission because the future of agriculture in Vermont is near and dear to my heart,” Berlin said. “I see that there are many complex forces interacting in a way that results in extreme challenges for dairy producers, and I want to be at the table to strategize a way out of this situation.”
Berlin is one of nine members on the Vermont Milk Commission.
“Last year, I served a one-year term and the goal was to provide a set of recommendations for the next Farm Bill (federal level),” she said. “We completed that task and I thought my job was done. Then a conversation began about identifying a mechanism for keeping milk prices more favorable for farmers and I was asked to continue on the commission for another term.”
Berlin’s role on the milk commission is to represent the consumer.
“That means that I need to look through a consumer’s lens when contemplating any recommendations,” she said, adding, “With that said, I naturally think about the broad implications of a recommendation, including the impact on farmers and other food systems stakeholders.”
Although passionate about her work in agricultural sustainability, Berlin noted that the primary work of the commission has been focused on financial viability.
“This has occurred because of the critical situation faced by so many dairy farmers due to low milk prices for a number of years running,” she said. “Farms are obviously challenged when the cost of producing milk exceeds the income from milk production. Many families rely on off-farm income or creative opportunities such as agri-tourism to make ends meet. The milk commission is currently considering policies that would be designed to try and turn this situation around.”
Berlin says she looks forward to learning more about the nuances of the dairy markets across the world, and how they impact one another.
“But most significantly, I look forward to the possibility of implementing a new dairy policy that results in greater financial stability for farmers without compromising other considerations such as the impact of farming on the environment,” she said.
A graduate of Plymouth State University, Cenate has earned several designations including certifications as a health and wellness coach, wellness culture coach, an ergonomic assessment specialist, and a tobacco treatment specialist.
“This is my chance to give back to my communities,” he said of his appointment to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. “Volunteerism is a big part of who I am, and I get to help support my fellow Vermonters with the opportunity to try new things, become more active, and help them live healthier lifestyles.”
Cenate supports council programs with marketing and promotion assistance, including the annual Worksite Wellness Conference, Exercise is Medicine Community Grants, Parks Prescription Pass Program, and the annual Vermont Corporate Cup and State Agency Race held in Montpelier every May.
Currently a contracted trainer at Perk Fitness in South Burlington, Cenate also owns the company Better Than Yesterday. He has also worked with the University of Vermont Medical Center for the last six years.
“I develop and deliver wellness programs for the employees of the hospital,” Cenate explained. “More specifically, one on one health coaching, health screenings, and wellness campaigns all with the goal of supporting all employees.”
An athlete his entire life, Cenate recently took up competing in triathlons. He also competes in Spartan Races, plays soccer in the Vermont Amateur Premier League and the Elite 8 League, and volunteers as a coach for the Essex United Soccer Club and the Rice Memorial High School Boys Soccer program.
“I live by the idea of living each day with the aim to be better than yesterday,” Cenate said noting the vital role sports and fitness has played in his life and career. His primary work for the council is with the Vermont Senior Games, a program that is dedicated to promoting healthy aging through sport for people over 50.
Cenate said he is looking forward to his continued work with the Governor’s Council, adding, “We are providing people with fun opportunities to be active and incorporate family. We are connecting individuals, families, and communities together and that it the ultimate reward for the work we do.”
Boards and commissions serve an important role in state government, giving Vermonters numerous opportunities to serve their state and communities. The Governor’s office is currently soliciting applications to fill vacancies and upcoming term expirations. For more information, visit http://governor.vermont.gov/boards-commissions.