For Immediate Release - January 11, 2010

State Agriculture Officials Join Farmers and Hannaford Supermarkets to Launch Program to Promote Local Dairy Farms

- MEDIA ADVISORY -

WHAT: Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) Commissioner Scott Soares will join supermarket officials and local farmers to promote a new program that aims to ensure dairy farmers in the Northeast are paid a sustainable price for their milk.

The Keep Local Farms program-inspired by the Fair Trade concept-will help provide more money directly to dairy farmers by encouraging consumers to support local dairy farmers. The program was developed by the Vermont Dairy Promotion Council, the New England Family Dairy Farm Cooperative and the New England Dairy Promotion Board. The program will help New England dairy producers brand their goods with a "Keep Local Farms" logo as a way to notify consumers that the product is locally produced.

Dairy farmers across the Northeast and the nation are struggling to survive due to the low prices they are paid for their milk and the high cost to produce milk. It costs the average dairy farmer about $1.80 to produce one gallon of milk, while the dairy farmers get paid about 97 cents per gallon of milk. New England produces $12.2 billion in milk and creates more than $5 billion in economic activity.

For more information on the Keep Local Farms program, click here.

WHO: DAR Commissioner Scott Soares | Hannaford Store Manager Cheryl Hinkson | Massachusetts Dairy Farmer Lucinda Williams

WHEN: Tuesday, January 12, 2010, Time: 10:30 a.m.

WHERE: Hannaford Supermarket, 475 Hancock Street, North Quincy