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Peter Welch unveils new legislation to help organic dairy farmers

Welch announced the bill at the Choiniere Family Farm, a grass-fed organic dairy in Highgate Center. “The margins are much tighter for us, so this bill is super important,” one of the farm’s owners said.

U.S. Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vt., has introduced new legislation that would give more federal support to organic dairy farmers across the country. 

Recent economic conditions have made it increasingly difficult for small, organic dairy farms to stay in business. While the organic label is designed to give certified producers a buoyed price for their product, consolidation and loopholes in the national program have made it harder for small organic producers to stay alive. Rising production costs, deflated milk prices and natural disasters have exacerbated the issue. 

“Over the last few years, we’ve gone from 195-ish organic dairy farms down to about 120-ish organic dairy farms, so the trend is quite precipitous,” said Grace Oedel, executive director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, which certifies Vermont’s organic farms. 

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