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What is the future of organic dairy in Vermont?

A photo of a black and white cow in a barnyard.
Howard Weiss-Tisman
A cow at Miller Farm in Vernon, which has begun bottling its organic milk as one way to stay competitive in a changing organic dairy industry.

Live call-in discussion: Dairy farming is a staple of Vermont’s agricultural and tourism economy. Milking barns and cows of all varieties dot the landscape here. But the industry is at risk, especially organic dairy.

Horizon Organic made headlines recently with its announcement that it’s ending its contracts with 28 Vermont farms next year. That spells trouble for those farmers, their families and their employees.

This hour, we dive into the world of organic dairy production. We learn what it takes to produce, bottle and ship organic milk. We also learn why some big companies like Horizon are pulling away from Vermont’s family farms. Then, we find out what farmers are doing to stay in the milk business, or pivot and get out.

Broadcast live on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 at noon.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or tweet us @vermontedition.

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Mikaela Lefrak joined VPR in summer 2021 as co-host and senior producer of 'Vermont Edition'. Prior to that, she was a reporter at host at WAMU, hosting 'What's With Washington' and '51st'.
Connor Cyrus joined VPR as host and senior producer in March 2021. Formerly a reporter at WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island, he's passionate about journalism’s ability to shed light on complex or difficult topics, as well as giving voice to underrepresented communities.
Lydia is managing producer for Vermont Edition. She joined the station in 2019 after working for 6 years at Connecticut Public Radio as a producer for Where We Live.