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Novel partnership to bolster organic dairy in Northeast

To help organic dairy farms survive in the Northeast, a first-of-its-kind partnership is asking consumers to pledge to buy dairy products from 35 brands that agreed to expand their purchases of milk from the farms. The Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership was a response to decisions by processors to pull out of the region, said Gary Hirshberg, a co-founder of Stonyfield, on Wednesday.

Two processors, Danone and Maple Hill Creamery, have announced termination in the near term of contracts with 135 organic dairy farms in New England and New York state. The Northeast partnership, which described itself as a collaboration of farmers, processors, activists, and government agencies, said it would ask consumers to pledge to buy one-fourth of their dairy products from 35 brands that agreed to buy more organic milk in the Northeast.

“Everyone has a stake in the long-term financial health of these farms and farm families,” said Hirshberg.

Along with asking for pledges from dairy consumers, the partnership said it would seek brand and retail partners to build a network of support for organic dairy.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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