WEST CHARLTON, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Some local dairy farms will remain open a little while longer after farmers found a temporary processor.
Eight local dairy farms – part of the Mohawk Valley Cooperative – were looking at the possibility of closure when the processor who bought their milk suddenly dropped their contracts. They only had 30 days to find a buyer for tens of thousands of pounds of milk.
“Well, I couldn’t believe it, and it took me a couple days just to regain my – I don’t know what you would call it – my constitution, maybe,” Mohawk Valley Cooperative President David Wood said.
Last year, low feed prices and high milk prices helped farmers make needed upgrades that increased milk production. This year, the market is flooded with milk, and abruptly, milk that was collected from farms such as Eildon Farm in West Charlton had nowhere to go.
Nearly 1,000 cows are milk three times a day on the farm. That milk production plus milk from the other farms in the cooperative, and families who had farmed for generations were looking at more than a loss of a tradition – it would have been a loss of their livelihoods.
But with help from state and local lawmakers, a new buyer was found at the last minute.
“Here at Ag and Markets, they’ve given us a tremendous amount of support, and I mentioned them,” Wood said. “I mentioned the market administrator’s office here and the local politicians. All those people and our neighbors. My goodness, what would we do without all of our neighbors and their support, so they have been a tremendous boost to us and helped us through this situation.”
Although the farmers signed contracts with the new processor to buy milk, Wood said it’s only for a few months, so they’re still in need of a permanent solution.
In the meantime, they’ve also cut back on milk production.