Allen Lumber Partners with Keep Local Farms™ Initiative
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Montpelier, VT – This week, Allen Lumber, the Vermont building supply company, joined forces with local dairy farmers to launch the Keep Local Farms™ initiative throughout its six Vermont stores. Allen Lumber is the second retailer in the country to implement the Keep Local Farms program. Hannaford Supermarkets announced their partnership in January. The initiative will help raise funds for local northeast dairy farmers, ensure a local, fresh supply of milk, and provide customers a way to support local dairy farmers and the local food network they help to sustain.
“We see the Keep Local Farms program as an opportunity to support our dairy industry. Supporting local businesses is important to our business and there is nothing more local than our Vermont dairy farmers,” said Lance Allen, Manager of Allen Lumber.
“Dairy farmers in Vermont and across the region have been dealing with the highs and lows of a volatile milk pricing system for decades. In 2009 we saw one of the worst dips and many dairy farms have closed due to the low price of milk paid to farmers – a price that currently, doesn’t come close to covering the costs of production,” said Diane Bothfeld Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. “Keep Local Farms is one way for businesses and consumers to help support our dairy economy. We sincerely appreciate Allen Lumber’s recognition of the important contributions dairy farmers provide to our communities and economy.”
Launched in September 2009, Keep Local Farms is a part of a broad effort to connect consumers with dairy farmers through education and direct support. The goals of the program are to promote the benefits dairy farms bring the local community and economy, generate a stable income to dairy farmers and secure the farmlands of today for future generations. Keep Local Farms is partnering with retailers, universities and health care providers to support local dairy farmers and the products they produce while increasing the demand for local milk.
“This is a great partnership for Allen Lumber. Farmers have been an important part of our business for over 123 years and things need to change if that is to continue. Keep Local Farms is a way for us to help that happen,” said Burnie Allen, Allen Lumber. “Our hope is that other businesses will recognize the importance of our dairy farmer’s contribution to our economy and join in the effort.”
A number of dairy farmers were on hand and expressed appreciation for the program. There continues to be a disconnect with consumers about the price they pay for a gallon of milk at the store and the price paid to the farmer. The Keep Local Farms program creates awareness for consumers and gives them an opportunity to provide an equitable and fair price for their product.
The Keep Local Farms program is operated by three partners that are all governed by dairy farmers throughout New England – Vermont Dairy Promotion Council, New England Dairy Promotion Board and New England Family Dairy Farms Cooperative. The program was started to stop the loss of local dairy farms throughout the Northeast. Since 1990, two-thirds of New England dairy farms have closed leaving less than 2000 local farms in the region.
Allen Lumber will raise awareness throughout their stores with Keep Local Farms promotional materials and will provide opportunities for customers to contribute to the Keep Local Farms initiative. For more information about the Keep Local Farms program, please visit www.keeplocalfarms.org.
Keep Local Farms is part of a broad effort to stabilize and enhance milk prices paid to dairy farmers in New England. Inspired by “Fair Trade” products such as coffee, bananas, and chocolate, the Vermont Dairy Promotion Council, the New England Family Dairy Farm Cooperative with Cooperative Development Institute, and the New England Dairy Promotion Board have developed a program that enables consumers to help dairy farmers. The Keep Local Farms program connects consumers with dairy farmers through education and direct support. This is an opportunity for consumers who are interested in purchasing local foods to support local dairy farmers, their community and the local economy.
Public Information Officer
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
116 State Street • Montpelier, VT 05620 • www.vermontagriculture.com