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Dairy farmers cash in on organic milk shortage - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Dairy farmers cash in on organic milk shortage

Randolph, Vermont - January 3, 2012

A shortage of organic milk is causing a spike in prices for consumers and is putting more money in the pockets of some dairy farmers.

About 125 Vermont dairy farmers sell to Organic Valley Cooperative, one of the two big organic processors in Vermont.  And right now those processors are racing to keep up with the growing demand for their milk.

According to federal data, the sale of whole organic milk increased about 17 percent nationwide last year. And that increase has prompted processors like Organic Valley to offer a large boost in the prices to farmers.

"Generally it's a good time for organic farmers because the organic marketplace keeps growing," said Regina Beidler, a farmer for Organic Valley. "I know when we started shipping organic milk 12 years ago there was a bit of a perception that this would be a short-lived fad, that organic was something that was not going to stick around, and instead what we've seen is consistent growth-- except for 2008-2009 when the recession hit-- for organic products, so the number of farms that are able to ship their food organically continues to increase."

The Beidlers and other Organic Valley Farmers stand to make over $30 per hundredweight of milk. That's about 30 percent more than the price paid to conventional dairy farmers.

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