Maine Farm Bureau Steps up Efforts to Assist MOO Milk Dairy Farmers

Immediate plea for donations to transport milk from Washington County

 With 11 of 12 MOO Milk dairy farmers landing agreements with national retailers, the Maine Farm Bureau is focusing support efforts on bridging a two-week transportation gap for two of the farms, hoping to raise $3,500 to keep their milk flowing until new long-term deals begin.

 "That these farmers have created a market for organic milk and have agreements with three national brands is really a milestone for Maine agriculture, and we're almost there," said Jon Olson, executive secretary of the Maine Farm Bureau. "The issue is that two Washington County farms that signed contracts with Horizon last week face a transportation gap. While Horizon has a coastal Maine route that goes as far as Winterport, it will take several weeks before all the paperwork and logistics are in place for the company to extend the route into Washington County."

 Through its state and county offices, the Maine Farm Bureau has been involved in developing the organic milk market for years. Maine Farm Bureau, along with Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), helped form the MOO Milk brand and has been assisting with negotiations that brought the recent deals to farmers. Jon Olson said it was "closing the circle" to help bridge the transportation gap.

 The Maine Farm Bureau says it needs to raise $3,500 for a special non-profit relief fund to guarantee that milk delivery costs are covered. Without the money, it is expected the organic milk will be dumped or used for feed, which will create financial hardship for these farmers.

 David Bright, a member of both Maine Farm Bureau and MOFGA, helped found MOO Milk and is currently working with the MOO Milk farmers to follow their transition to new contracts. According to Bright, "We are working on getting a licensed raw milk hauler to temporarily make the trip to Washington County until Horizon can start its route, but that could cost up to $2,000 a week. People have expressed so much support for MOO Milk and its farmers over the past few months, if they can contribute a few dollars to this effort - even just the amount of what they would have spent on a few gallons of MOO Milk - we can get these farmers through this transition period."

 The Maine Farm Bureau will accept donations through its Disaster Relief Fund. Donations can be made online at www.mainefarmbureau.com or mailed to Maine Farm Bureau, 4 Gabriel Drive, Suite 1, Augusta, ME 04330.