cows in field


Fair Share of the Retail Dollar for Organic Dairy Producers

Added January 19, 2012. The Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA) started a petition January 4, 2012 to draw attention to the fact that organic dairy producers need an increase in their milk price in order to stay afloat. We are asking consumers if they would be willing to pay more for their milk if they knew that the increase went straight to the farmer. Please sign the petition and tell your friends to sign, put it on your Facebook page, ask your certifiers and other organizations you are members of or support to promote it on their website and internet communications plus anywhere else that seems appropriate. We are all consumers, let's make our voices heard.

Our goal is to have 5,000 signatures – we are well on our way.

Organic farm families are suffering while processors and retailers thrive, and consumers have a product with a retail price 20 cents per gallon lower than in 2008. A recently published summary of a seven-year study by the University of Vermont showed that organic dairy farmers have lost equity in their business since 2006, suffering heavily in 2009, with many farmers only able to remain in business because of federal safety-net programs. Farmers can be saved by an increase in the retail price. Traditionally, a price increase is split three ways: between the farmer who produced the milk, the processor that packages the milk, and the retailer who puts it on a shelf. It is time that the retailer and processor respect their farmer partners and farmer-owners by passing the entire increase on to the farmers to keep them in business.

The Petition

This petition will be sent to George Siemon, CEO (Organic Valley); Ron Schnur (Horizon Organic); and Gary Hirschberg (Stonyfield Farm), which says:

"Increase Organic Dairy Farm families milk price by $0.60 per gallon to cover an increase in their farming costs or $0.70 per gallon to save family farms. As a consumer I support paying more if that money goes back to farmers."

At the time of this article, we have just over 1000 signatures and some excellent comments. Here is a sampling of what people are saying:

  • Organic dairy farmers are the heart and soul of a sustainable and healthy milk supply in this country. While the price of milk may rise a bit, it is abundantly clear that what we cannot afford is the loss of these independent organic milk producers. (CA)
  • I would rather spend a little more and have my food come from a family farm rather than a factory farm. (MA)
    Anything for the hardworking farmers. a signature can go a long way when we put our pens together. thanks for inviting me to sign such a fair and critically important petition. (MA)
  • Farmers should be allowed to charge whatever is necessary to keep themselves in business. Wow, I can't believe they need a petition to be allowed to do this. Thought this was a free country! (HI)
  • It's a sad commentary on a civilization's idea of health care when it's collectively considered normal to know your family doctor and your family dentist but considered strange and revolutionary to know your family farmer. But it is even sadder when it takes signing petitions to force the dairy co-ops to pay the family farmer at least enough to feed his cows. Think about it! (PA)
  • Paying farmers in rural America parity and a reasonable profit on their labor is the surest way to bring money into our rural economies and keep it there. (ME)
  • Farmers are always the last to see a price increase... It's time they had enough to cover cost of production. Even better would be cost of living! (VT)
  • The average organic dairy farm is getting somewhere around $2.55/gal for their milk and the consumer is getting charged $8-$9/gal for the supermarket. There has to be room in the system for the farmer to get more of the share. (VT)
  • It is time to step up and give us more of the retail dollar. Remember, just a few years ago, you said reduce your volume....and we did. I did not notice that you lost equity in your businesses at that time as we farmers did do. (NY)