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New England Farmers Union President Calls for Public to Speak up for Dairy Farms

Noonan Urges Citizens to Take Action to Protect Family Dairy Farmers in New England

Dairy farmers in New England are struggling to stay alive amidst a brutal combination of threats (photo, Jason Velázquez).
Dairy farmers in New England are struggling to stay alive amidst a brutal combination of threats (photo, Jason Velázquez).

In a message shared by the Neighboring Food Co-op Association, Roger Noonan, president of the New England Farmers Union President explains the need for immediate action  to protect the region’s family dairy farms.

“Family dairy farms form the backbone of New England’s agricultural economy, landscape and rural character,” Noonan writes. He warns that many of these farms are in trouble and identifies a list of factors that make up a perfect storm:

  • Low prices – 37% below the 2014 price;
  • Revenue from milk sales well below cost of production;
  • Regionally higher cost of production;
  • Unprecedented drought conditions causing significant reductions in feed and forage yields; and
  • A Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) that isn’t working for New England’s family dairy farms.

Maine dairy farmer and New England Farmers Union (NEFU) board member Mary Castonguay and Noonan will be in Washington, DC this week for the National Farmers Union (NFU) 2016 Fall Legislative Fly-In. They be urging Congressional delegation to take bold action on behalf of our imperiled dairy farmers.

Noonan says that they public has only a narrow window of opportunity to raise awareness and ask Congress to provide immediate disaster assistance relief to support this critical sector of New England agriculture.

Right now, during the fly-in, Noonan implores the public to call their representatives in Congress to let them know that New England Dairy Farmers need help immediately.

Contact information for Representatives in the House can be found here and Senators here.

The NEFU suggests the public state simply:

“I care about family dairy farms in New England.

Please support disaster assistance relief for them today.”

New England Farmers Union (NEFU), a membership organization, is committed to enhancing  the quality of life for family farmers, fishermen, nurserymen and their customers through educational opportunities, co-operative endeavors and civic engagement.

NEFU was founded in 2006 as a charter member of the National Farmers Union (NFU) an agricultural advocacy organization founded in 1902 and based in Washington, D.C.

NEFU farmers and fishermen drive policy positions. Our members engage New England elected officials and public agencies, and press them to implement and enforce laws and regulations that will strengthen New England’s agriculture and fisheries. Legislators from our region look to NEFU when deciding how to vote on policies that will have an impact on issues such as:

  • Dairy: New England dairies are small and face different issues than dairy farms in other parts of the country. NEFU works with lawmakers to ensure that our region’s dairy farmers have a voice in shaping policies that affect milk prices and regulations.
  • Direct Sales: New England farmers rely on sales directly to consumers and local food producers. NEFU fights to protect the economic viability of small-scale growers and producers.
  • Sustainability: New England farmers leverage resources from public agencies to develop sustainable practices that protect their long-term viability. NEFU educates legislators about how small investments in our region can have a significant impact on our food, the environment and our economy.
  • Conservation: From our coastlands to our mountains, New England abounds with natural resources and beauty. NEFU advocates for policies that preserve our rural and coastal landscape while enhancing our region’s economic well-being.
  • Energy and Food Security: By promoting co-operative educational and business enterprises, NEFU works to ensure that our children will live in a region that can feed and fuel itself.



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