The loss of local family farms is not a new story for the northeast. However, in the fall of 2021, 89 organic farms across Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York received the devastating and unexpected news that Horizon Organic, the processor committed to purchasing their milk, would terminate contracts within 12 months (now extended to 18 months). Soon after that, 46 organic family farms in eastern New York received similar notices from their processor Maple Hill Creamery.
The 135 termination notices placed a large percentage of the region’s organic dairy farms in financial jeopardy and created an urgent wake-up call for our region. Unless we take swift action, our hard-working family farms – and the promise of a climate-positive, secure food system supported by their organic methods – will face dire consequences. While saving these 135 at-risk farms is the most urgent and immediate crisis, we recognize an equally vital need to address the systemic conditions that have put these farms at risk. Simply put, we all must act to prevent farms from ever being placed in this position again.
First Step to Address the Crisis
The first step in creating market stability and ensuring the future of the Northeast’s organic dairy farms is to increase the demand for the organic milk produced in our region. When consumers vote with their dollars and purchase from the brands committed to sourcing organic milk from our region, it sends a strong message that we value our local organic farms and want them to stay in business.
You can help by taking a simple pledge stating that you’ll purchase from the brands committed to our region’s organic family farms.