In an uncharacteristically draconian move, the Board of Directers for organic dairy co-op Organic Valley recently voted to ban its member farmers from seling raw milk direct to consumers on their own.
In addition to striking a blow to consumers who rely on these farmers for their milk, this decision forces farmers to choose between the reliability of participating in the co-op and the vastly increased profitably of selling raw milk directly to those who want it. The raw milk market is still very small, and it is unlikely that many farms could find enough buyers to sustain them if they choose the latter. If they choose the former, they are giving up not just increased profits, but independence and the ability to make their own business decisions.
Organic Valley claims economic sustainability for its members is a core goal, and yet they erode the independence and flexibility that are essential to that goal. Tell the Organic Valley Board of Directors to stop playing politics and let the farmers decide what's best for each of their businesses. Tell them to reverse the raw milk ban!
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