Processing Plant’s Closure Could Affect Maine Dairy Farmers’ Income

Updated 2 years ago

When the Garelick Farms dairy processing plant in Bangor closed earlier this year, 35 people lost their jobs. But it affected many more people in Maine’s dairy industry.People like the farmers at Aghaloma Farms in Knox, which is home to around 480 dairy cows.”It’s just taking away from the farmer and you know, we really can’t stand a lot more of that,” said Harold Larrabee of Aghaloma Farms.This year farmers can likely expect less money in the Maine Milk Pool, which comes from milk sales produced, processed and bottled in state.”That money is collected each month at the end of the month and then put in to the Maine Milk Pool and it’s then distributed out to be paid to all dairy farmers throughout the state of Maine,” explained Oakhurst Dairy Co-President Tom Brigham.According to Oakhurst Dairy, the Garelick Farms processing plant closure could mean up to $600,000 less in the pool, if all of the milk once processed at that plant is now processed outside of Maine. That means less money given to farmers who depend on that extra income to pay for grain, fuel, equipment and labor.Larrebee said, “If all the milk went out of state and then came back in, we could lose up to $10,000 dollars a year out of it, just on this farm.”There really isn’t much the farmers can do about it, but what consumers can do to help is buy milk that’s made in Maine. You can make sure you’re buying milk processed in state by asking your grocer or looking for the “Maine quality seal” on the label.”Hopefully [consumers] will choose to buy the product that has gone through the entire chain of supply within the state of Maine and that will end up getting the greatest benefit to our Maine dairy farmers,” said Brigham.Since a portion of all of those sales goes back into the pool, your gallon of milk can help out Aghaloma Farms in Knox and all of the other dairy farms in Maine.For more information, visit keepyourmilkinmaine.com.


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