- Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
Media Contact for State and Local Officials Celebrate Massachusetts Dairy Month
Craig Gilvarg, Press Secretary
Sheffield — In celebration of Governor Charlie Baker’s declaration of June as “Massachusetts Dairy Month,” Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux, Deputy Commissioner Ashley Randle, local officials, and representatives from the Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board today toured three dairy farms in southern Berkshire and Franklin Counties in an effort to raise awareness about the Commonwealth’s dairy industry and encourage Massachusetts residents to purchase locally-produced dairy products.
“Massachusetts dairy farmers have proven their importance, as well as their resilience, in providing the Commonwealth with fresh, nutritious, delicious dairy products throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner Lebeaux. “It is imperative that we recognize the contribution of multi-generational dairy farms to the environment, the economy, and the health of all of our citizens.”
The tour began at Thomas Farm and Dairy, in Sunderland, where owners Jim Thomas and Laurie Cuevas talked about their cheese operation and gave the group a tour of their Nubian goat, Brown Swiss and Jersey cow dairy farm. The tour continued to Pine Island Farm, in Sheffield, where owners Holly and Louis Aragi described the process of their anaerobic methane digester, which was the first of its kind in Massachusetts. For the last stop of the day, Commissioner Lebeaux visited Maple Shade Farm, where owner Morven Allen discussed his certified organic farming practices and his membership in Organic Valley, an organic dairy co-op. Tours will also take place in Southeastern Massachusetts on Thursday, June 17, 2021, including at Hornstra Farm in Norwell.
According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service and the United States Department of Agriculture’s 2017 Agriculture Census, the Commonwealth is home to approximately 110 dairy farms situated on a total of 49,744 acres of farmland. In Massachusetts, the dairy industry contributed approximately $36.5 million to the state’s local economy, and produced roughly 200 million pounds of fresh, nutritious, wholesome milk a year, which is used to make many value-added products like cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and butter.