HOW DO YOU DEFINE LOCAL? WHICH DAIRY FARMS RECEIVE FUNDS FROM THE PROGRAM?
Local farms for this program refers to all dairy farmers in New England (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine). In order to receive funds, farms must sign up to be members of the New England Family Dairy Farms Cooperative (NEFDFC). However, all New England dairy farms, including organic farms, are eligible and encouraged to be part of NEFDFC.
WILL THIS PROGRAM REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR DAIRY FARMS?
Absolutely, milk prices paid to dairy farmers fluctuate widely. In 2009, dairy farmers were being paid the lowest prices for their milk since 1970, while trying to keep up with 2009 costs for fuel and feed. The prices have rebounded slightly in 2010 but dairy farmers are struggling to repay debt incurred in 2009. Dairy farms are cutting costs every way they can but most cannot cover their costs with the current milk price and debt load. Any and all funds will be appreciated and will go towards helping to keep dairy farms in business.
IS THE KEEP LOCAL FARMS PROGRAM ONLY FOR DAIRY FARMS?
Yes. However, the name Keep Local Farms will allow this program to provide assistance to other types of farming in the future.
WHICH FARMS ARE INVOLVED IN THIS PROGRAM?
A summary of how many farms are involved per state is located on the “Participating Farms” page.
WHY SHOULD CONSUMERS CARE ABOUT KEEPING LOCAL FARMS?
Dairy farms contribute to the strength of our local economy. They generate revenues through the sale of their products, provide jobs, and attract tourists who are drawn to New England to appreciate the scenic beauty and open, working landscape.
Local dairy farmers take part in the life of their communities, and are essential contributors to the economic vitality of their hometowns and the nation. They are stewards of the land, protecting the soil, air, water, and biodiversity in addition to producing high-quality, healthful food for all of us.
A local milk supply is essential to our enjoyment of quality food that is also fresh, healthy and provides a real source of food security. Locally-produced dairy travels fewer miles, using less fuel for transportation, providing a fresher product.