By Tom Bell, Staff Writer | June 28, 2015
WHITEFIELD — A national shortage of organic milk – the result of changing American diets – is fueling interest in Maine among dairy processors eager to increase supplies and meet growing demand.
As many dairy farms in the West struggle under drought conditions that have dried up pasturelands, Maine is seen as promising territory. Its abundance of water and land gives the state an advantage because organic dairy cows spend much of their lives outdoors, grazing in grass pastures.
Steve Getz, who manages the milk supply in most of New England for Organic Valley, sees Maine’s potential whenever he drives through the state.
“You go past field after field after field of grasslands,” he said. “Let’s put the land to use.”
He’s not the only one thinking that way.
Wisconsin-based Organic Valley and New Hampshire-based yogurt-maker Stonyfield Farm are running campaigns in Maine to persuade conventional dairy farmers to switch to organic farming methods and to help new farmers start organic dairy farms. More than a dozen farms have already made the switch or started the process in the past year.
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