These days we have a great deal to ponder as our lives have changed dramatically during the past 3 months. Once our every day lives return closer to normal, we need to consider what is truly important in our lives in a broader sense.
According to Change.org, “fifty years ago New Hampshire had 850 dairy farms, today only 94 remain.” A combination of many factors including low milk prices, the increasing use of alternative (non-dairy) products which decreases demand have created a dairy crisis, and competition from out-of-state producers.
During the Covid-19 pandemic dairy farms were one of New Hampshire’s food production industries most heavily hit. You may have gone to the grocery store and seen a notice limiting your milk buying due to shortages (shortages that probably did not actually exist long-term) to prevent hoarding. Personally that makes no sense to me. Hoarding works for things that last a long time, or that you can freeze–but milk products are not among these. Thankfully some grocery chains are now dropping the limitations on dairy goods.
In the meantime, dairy farms often depend on more than one selling point to stay profitable. With restaurants and schools closed, losing those important points of sale, along with grocery store limits, created a surplus of milk. Like others across the country, New Hampshire dairy farms have had to dump some of their milk supply.
With a resounding 80% grocery shopper’s support, a “New Hampshire’s Own” dairy program was signed into law by Gov. Chris Sununu last year. It allows the state Department of Agriculture to market milk from New Hampshire dairies with a “New Hampshire’s Own” label. This allows consumers to buy these specif New Hampshire products with a 50-cent premium that is given directly back to the farmers (7 cents goes to advertise the program, 43 cents to the dairy farmers). So if you see this label, please support your LOCAL DAIRY FARMERS.
Support New Hampshire farmers, and ask your grocery store to buy local “New Hampshire’s Own” milk — helping local farmers and supporting our economy. #Ask4NHDairy.
Milk surplus, lower prices threaten NH’s dairy farmers – NH Business Review
My Turn: Saving New Hampshire Dairy Farms (August 2019)
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