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Oakhurst Launches Initiative to Help Maine Dairy Farmers
02/01/2013   Reported By: Tom Porter

Oakhurst Dairy has launched an initiative to try to help Maine dairy farmers as they look for ways cope in an increasingly challenging environment. The Portland-based Oakhurst this week kicked off a marketing campaign called "Keep Your Milk in Maine." It's a response to the latest setback which came in December when Dean Foods closed the Garelick Farms milk processing plant in Bangor. Thirty-five jobs were lost at the plant. And Maine's dairy farmers have fewer options now for processing their raw milk in state. But the plant's closure also means the loss of about $600,000 for the Maine Milk Pool - a fund that Maine-based dairies pay into, to subsidize the state's 300 dairy farmers.

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Originally Aired: 2/1/2013 5:30 PM


Libby Bleakney farms a herd of 500 Jersey cows at Highland Farms in Cornish. She welcomes the Oakhurst initiative, as she now expects to be about $2,000 a year worse off.

"It has been a big help to us, and now that Dean Foods has pulled out and moved their processing plant out of the state of Maine, it is going to be hardship," she says.

Another Maine dairy farmer is Agriculture Commissioner Walter Whitcomb (right)  of Waldo. He joined us earlier today from our Augusta studios. I asked him what he thinks the best way forward is for Maine's dairy farmers this year.

To hear either of two versions of Tom Porter's interview - one that aired on Maine Things Considered and a longer version - click either of the two "Listen" buttons above. 

Photo courtesy of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.


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