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Northeast dairy producers get 6-month lifeline

Temporary agreement will give 180 dairy producers in National Farmers Organization until May to find another buyer.

Dairy Farmers of America, a national cooperative, has entered into a six-month agreement with the National Farmers Organization (NFO). The news is welcomed by the approximately 180 dairy farmers in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont who are part of NFO but were at risk of having no place to sell their milk on Dec. 1.

NFO for the last 15 years had contracted with DFA's Dairy Marketing Services (DMS) in New England to sell its members' milk. Jennifer Huson, DMS spokesperson, explained that for the last several years, DMS has been working through the unprecedented marketing dynamics its region has experienced.

“As these conditions continue to challenge our milk marketing systems, we have been forced to evaluate our business model and make some difficult decisions, including how we work with cooperatives to market milk on their behalf. In situations where there is no longer processing capacity in the region, we have been forced to work with those cooperatives to terminate contracts,” Huson explained.

In late 2016, DMS issued a 12-month notice of termination to NFO in the Northeast.

“Due to the challenging market dynamics in the region, we have been working with NFO to find capacity for the farms impacted by this termination. Recently DMS has agreed to assist NFO by offering to purchase direct loads into our balancing plants for six months. The temporary agreement will give NFO until May to find another buyer,” Huson explained.

She added that DMS is committed to “work through solutions with these groups and remain dedicated to preserving a vibrant dairy industry for the future.”

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