Proposed dairy processing facility could mean relief for Vermont farmers

This article by Bob Audette originally appeared May 16 in the Brattleboro Reformer.

BRATTLEBORO — The prospect of a new dairy processing plant in Windham County is good news for dairy farmers around Vermont, said Diane Bothfeld, the director of administrative services and dairy policy for the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

“When a new processor comes online, there is less powdered milk, which means more money for farmers,” she said. “It’s very positive to have another processor in Vermont.”

Bothfeld explained that what milk is used for determines what a dairy farmer receives in compensation. Liquid milk gets the best return on the dollar for farmers, she said, followed by yogurt and ice cream, cheese and, finally, butter and dried milk.

“If more milk goes to yogurt and less to powder, that will help improve the farmers’ weighted average price,” said Bothfeld.

According to documents filed with the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office, Thomas Moffitt, the former president of Commonwealth Dairy, is a principal in a $32.5 million push to rehabilitate a factory recently vacated by a defense contractor in the Exit One Industrial Park in Brattleboro. According to documents presented to the Brattleboro Select Board, the new dairy facility — Culture Made Vermont LLC — would produce “value-added” products from milk supplied by Vermont dairy farms. A value-added dairy product includes cheeses, yogurt, ice cream and butter.

“We are encouraged that the owners have chosen Vermont,” said Anson Tebbetts, the secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, during a “listening tour” stop in Brattleboro on Tuesday. “One reason they have decided to locate here is, we can offer them a quality milk product for production. They know Vermont farmers produce high-quality milk, which can be turned into high-quality products.”

Moffitt co-founded Commonwealth Dairy in Brattleboro in 2010 with Ben Johnson. Shortly after, the pair partnered up with Ehr-mann USA Holding, a subsidiary of German dairy company Ehrmann AG. The 38,000-square-foot facility on Omega Drive opened a year later, and expanded its local factory in 2013.

Read full story at the Brattleboro Reformer.

(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)

2 thoughts on “Proposed dairy processing facility could mean relief for Vermont farmers

  1. Wouldn’t this make more sense if it were more centrally located and in an area that could use the jobs?

  2. I visited Cabot Coop in Cabot. Was told they test EVERY truck load of milk for GMO, anti-bacterial drugs, etc prior to unloading. If any such chemicals are found, the truck returns to the farmer and the farmer has to pay the costs. It’s reassuring. I hope this facility takes the same precautions.

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