The state and two agricultural organizations awarded nearly $200,000 to help educate the public about the importance of local dairy products.
“10 cents of every hundred pounds of milk that we produce and every dairy farmer produces in the state goes toward generic promotion,” said Darryl Williams, owner of Luther Belden Farm in Hatfield.
Massachusetts is home to more than 117 family-run dairy farms, including Hatfield’s Luther Belden Farm.
Soon-to-be fourteen generations of the Belden/Williams family have farmed this land since the 1660s. Williams told 22News, dairy farming has gotten harder in recent years.
He said, “It used to be that the price of milk was based on a local market. Now, it’s really a world market and so we’re adapting to that. So, it’s been a challenge for all dairy farmers across the country.”
Dairy farms make up less than 2 percent of the farms in the Pioneer Valley, but they manage 18 percent of agricultural land and account for 14 percent of agricultural sales.
Williams told 22News, the milk you drink has a splash of Mass in every glass.
“Pretty much any milk that you buy at a grocery store, or a gas station, or where ever you’re getting your milk has some Massachusetts milk in it. It enters a wholesale stream and gets mixed with milk from around the region and is sold very, very widely,” said Claire Morenon, communications manager of Community Involved Sustaining Agriculture (CISA).
CISA is a South Deerfield non-profit that will utilize a $34,517 grant to educate the public about the value of local dairy products.
The CISA grant was one of the six grants awarded and one of two Franklin County organizations to receive nearly $60,000.