The Future of Dairy Farming in the Berkshires and Beyond – a Film and Forum

Posted on February 3, 2019 // view all Events // News

Forgotten Farms Film Screening
Saturday, March 9, 3-5 p.m.
Mount Everett High School
Sheffield, MA

Sheffield is home to five dairy farms—far more than most other towns in Massachusetts. Dairy farms manage most of the farmland in our region and supply more local food than any other type of farm, but all dairy farms are feeling squeezed by low milk prices and high costs. Massachusetts has been fortunate to have lost fewer farms than neighboring states during the recent years of record low milk prices and high rates of farm closures. Last year, New York lost 160 dairy farms, Vermont and New Hampshire each lost 10 farms. Of the 140 dairy farms in Massachusetts, Berkshire County has 19 dairy farms remaining. The future of our remaining Berkshire dairy farms is a critical concern because the Berkshire’s agricultural future, farmland, agricultural economy, and regional food security rely on them.

On Saturday, March 9, join local dairy farmers, policy experts, land conservationists, and dairy cooperative representatives for a screening of the movie “Forgotten Farms,” followed by a discussion about the future of family dairy farms in our region.

Dairy farmers tend 1.2 million acres of farmland and produce almost all of the milk consumed in New England. In its enthusiasm for new and young farmers, the new food movement often overlooks the farmers at the foundation of the region’s agricultural economy. As we strive to revive local production, we have a great deal to learn from dairy farmers who have been managing most of the farmland and sustaining the farm economy for decades. Through conversations with farmers and policy experts, “Forgotten Farms” reconsiders the role of these vital but forgotten farmers.

Co-sponsored by Berkshire Grown, Bushnell-Sage Library, Sheffield Agricultural Commission, and the Sheffield Land Trust, this event is free and open to the public. Additional supporters include Agri-Mark Cabot Dairy Cooperative, Berkshire County Farm Bureau, Berkshire Natural Resources Council, Schumacher Center for a New Economics, Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation.

3-4 p.m. Screening of “Forgotten Farms,” a film about the cultural divide in the farm and food system focusing on the struggles of family dairy farms in the era of the new food movement. The filmmakers will be present.

4-5 p.m. Solutions-based panel discussion with Sheffield dairy farmer Jim Larkin, former State Representative Steve Kulik, Jason Wentworth of the Massachusetts Association of Dairy Farmers, Kathy Orlando of the Sheffield Land Trust, and others.

The Thomas A. Consolati Performing Arts Center (TAC-PAC)
Mt. Everett High School
491 Berkshire School Rd.
Sheffield, Massachusetts

Free refreshments: Massachusetts cheese and ice cream!

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