Here at Stonyfield, we have been collaborating with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to support their SAFE program – Saving Animals from Extinction. In the campaign, we ask kids (and their parents) to imagine how they can help make sure these endangered species survive.
As long-time organic advocates, we know that the 200,000 pounds of pesticides we keep out of the eco-system each year matters to the interconnected web of species with whom we share this planet. If you’re a Stonyfield fan, you likely already know this. But what you may not know is that there’s another endangered species we are working every day to keep from going extinct: the family farm.
The dairy farm is a quintessential part of the fabric of New England communities. A shot of it, taken from a bend in the road on a late September afternoon, or across the brilliant green of a spring field, appears on every calendar and post card sold to the many tourists who flock to our region each year. But more than just iconic beauty, these farms are equally essential to the economic stability of New England.
New England has lost over 10,000 dairy farms in the past 50 years and fewer than 2,000 farms remain. Collectively, they represent 1.2 million acres of farmland and produce almost all of the milk consumed in New England. It’s critical – for all of us, that they stay alive.*
But here’s the good news: the organic dairy model represents an opportunity for greater financial viability and profitability for farmers. It takes more resources to produce milk organically (for starters, the pasture rule requires cows spend 120 days grazing outdoors which means access to more land) and recognizing this, we pay our farmers a premium price for the milk that goes into our product.
At Stonyfield we’re working diligently to grow the next generation of organic dairy farmers in New England through several programs including our Direct Milk Supply Program and the Organic Dairy Farmer Training Program at Wolfe’s Neck Farm. Our goal with both of these programs is to grow and support the organic dairy sector – through providing on-farm training and education to the next generation learning to be farmers, and technical, inter-generational, and transitional assistance to farmers who directly supply us with milk.
We do all this not only because of our commitment to organics, but because we know that the more profitable the farm, the better the odds that the farmer will stay in business and the more likely we’ll be able to continue to see them around that bend in the road.
Through your purchases of Stonyfield organic yogurt, you’re voting with your dollars to help protect the New England dairy farm, our backyard endangered species. Here are three additional ways to make a difference:
- Learn more about the history of dairy farms in New England by getting a “glimpse into the past and a vision for the future” by watching one of our favorite documentaries, Forgotten Farms.
- Buy locally sourced dairy products. A large portion of the organic milk Stonyfield uses to make its yogurt is from New England. Beyond yogurt, check out cheese, milk and other items at your local farmer’s market. Find your local farmer’s market by downloading this app.
- Support the National Young Farmers Coalition. The NYFC is at the forefront of growing and supporting the next generation of farmers. Get involved in one of the many ways they offer on their website, here.