Some of the organic dairy farmers who found out last summer that they were losing their contract with an international company may have a new way to stay in business.
Organic Valley, a farmer-owned cooperative based in Wisconsin, announced Tuesday that it was reaching out to up to 80 farms in the Northeast that were dropped by the company, Horizon Organic, in August.
When Horizon announced they’d stop taking organic milk supply from dairies in the Northeast, which included almost 30 farms in Vermont, analysts said it would have been a devastating blow to the state’s dairy industry, which had already been reeling and losing farms every year.
Organic Valley CEO Bob Kirchoff said the company has been working since the announcement was made this summer to find a solution for the farm.
“We are the only national brand still fighting for small family farms because we know that the best quality food is ethically sourced from small family farms,” Kirchoff said in a press release. “With the help of consumers and customers across the country, we are helping solve the crisis of disappearing small family farms. We are creating the food system we all want—one that regenerates soil, cares for animals, nourishes people, and strengthens communities.”
Organic Valley currently picks up milk from 99 Vermont farms.
Horizon Organic, which is owned by the international food company, Danone, said it would be ending its contracts with the organic family farms due to “growing transportation and operational challenges in the dairy industry, particularly in the Northeast.”
More from VPR: Vermont Organic Dairy Farms Fight To Survive As Industry Consolidates
Danone said the contracts would end during the summer of 2022, and then extended that deadline until the end of the year.
But the announcement Tuesday by Organic Valley means the farms now have an option to sell their milk to a new dairy company.
Organic Valley said it already signed new contracts with 10 farms in New England.Click here to see more...