More organic dairy farmers are forced out of business

As more organic dairy farmers are forced out of business, Vermont advocates and farmers are seeking a one-time state appropriation of $9.2 million to help existing organic dairies survive.

The money would be used to pay the now 139 organic dairy farms in Vermont retroactive payments of $5 per hundred pounds of milk on all the organic milk produced in the state in 2022.

Vermont had 169 certified organic dairies at the end of 2020. As of Wednesday, the number had dropped to 139, and the state is expected to lose 25 to 30 more in the coming months.

“This money, honestly, I’ve got neighbors to pay. Like the guy who spreads my manure, my hoof trimmer, just those things,” said Marcy Guillette, a fourth-generation organic dairy farmer in Derby. 

On the federal level, some relief for organic dairy farmers has been announced but it probably won’t be enough nor available in time to keep struggling dairies in business.