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Sanders backs local foods, dairy changes

Posted on October 15, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



MIDDLEBURY — Addressing a crowd of around 50 farmers Monday night at the Middlebury American Legion, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., offered a few words of support for dairy farmers struggling to make a living: the dairy crisis isn’t a Vermont issue or a New England issue so much as a national one, and lawmakers are paying attention.

full story

Farmers push co-ops for dairy overhaul

Posted on October 12, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



ADDISON COUNTY — Farmers in Addison County may be rallying behind milk price stabilization plans, but some of the dairy co-ops that collect and market their milk have been slow to the table.

Now, frustrated by what Orwell farmer Tom Audet dubbed the “sluggish” response of dairy cooperatives, many of those farmers are chastising their co-ops for failing to take strong stands on supply management programs.

full story

"Cow Power" producers suffer losses

Posted on October 1, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



ADDISON COUNTY — Central Vermont Public Service’s “Cow Power” program, which enlists farms to convert manure to electricity using on-farm anaerobic digesters, has been lauded in recent years as a revolutionary way to generate renewable energy and support local farms.

But wholesale energy prices plummeted earlier this year. With Cow Power rates contractually tied to the price of wholesale energy, farmers participating in the fledgling program found themselves producing two commodities at a loss: milk and electricity.

full story

Tough times push Addison dairy farm under

Posted on September 14, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



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ADDISON — At the entrance to the DeVries family’s Dairydale Farm in Addison, there’s a sign up announcing to passersby that this tidy spread is a Vermont “Dairy of Distinction.”

The sign may still be there, but the farm’s 150 cows are gone.

Sam and Dave DeVries, brothers and partners in the Dairydale operation, milked their herd one last time on an afternoon in mid-June, and then ambled outside among the large crowd to watch their livelihood go up for auction.

full story

Dairy farmers seek escape from volatile milk pricing

Posted on August 24, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



MIDDLEBURY — Inching toward consensus, Addison County dairy farmers last Thursday hunkered down over coffee and donuts at the American Legion in Middlebury to discuss a plan some dairymen hope could pave the way beyond dramatic highs and lows in milk prices.

full story

Breaking news: USDA boosts price paid to dairy farmers

Posted on July 31, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



WASHINGTON, D.C. — After weeks of pleading their case for struggling dairymen in Washington, D.C., Vermont’s Congressional delegation finally made a breakthrough Friday, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the Obama administration is taking immediate action to boost prices paid to dairy farmers.

That means that the price the federal government pays for milk and dairy products in the marketplace is set to go up for August, September and October, a price hike that the USDA estimates will increase dairy farmers’ revenue nationally by $243 million.

full story

Lawmakers seek relief for dairy farms

Posted on July 23, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



WASHINGTON, D.C. — When the Vermont Milk Commission meets late this week in Montpelier, undoubtedly the discussion will focus to the precarious state of Vermont’s floundering dairy industry.

It’s a conversation that has spread beyond Vermont, as lawmakers’ efforts to drum up support and attention to the dairy crisis ramped up in Washington, D.C., this month.

But it’s also a conversation that has some dairy advocates asking just what federal legislators can and will do to turn around the dairy slump.

full story

Dairy in Crisis - Part 3: Farmers seek lifeline for dairy industry

Posted on March 26, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



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ADDISON COUNTY — As Vermont’s dairy farmers lose money on every gallon of milk they produce, dairymen these days are wondering if they’ll survive the latest downturn in the volatile milk market. The crash in the price farmers get for their milk has forced 24 Vermont farms out of business since December, according to the Agency of Agriculture.

But even if they make it through this current crisis — which, with its $10 and $11 per hundredweight (cwt) milk prices is admittedly the worst farmers have seen in years — the long-term outlook for the industry is murky.

full story

Dairy in Crisis - Part 2: Legislators helpless to change milk pricing

Posted on March 19, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



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BRIDPORT — As dairy farmers from around the county sat at tables at the Bridport Grange Monday for an annual lunch with legislators sipping coffee from paper cups emblazoned with “Vermont Milk,” the depressed price of milk couldn’t have been far from their minds. These days, farmers are selling their milk at prices well below the cost of production.

full story

Dairy in Crisis - Part 1: Milk price crash puts squeeze on county dairy farmers

Posted on March 12, 2009 |
By Kathryn Flagg



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Editor’s Note — You’ve doubtless heard the news: Vermont’s dairy industry, the backbone of agriculture in the state, is foundering. Projections from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture estimate that this year’s downturn in milk prices — which threatens to bankrupt many farms — will have a $200 million impact on the state.

full story

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