Massachusetts is home to 120 dairy farms and 15% of these farms are in Berkshire County.
Most of the milk produced by our region’s dairy farmers is processed regionally and sold regionally. A recent study by the Manoment Center for Conservation Sciences found that 20% of the milk consumed in our state is produced by Massachusetts farms, significantly higher than the estimated 12.5% of our whole diet that is Massachusetts-grown. If you are curious about where your milk or dairy product is processed you can look it up here.
You can buy milk, cheese and other products directly from farmers, at farm stands or farmer’s markets. Find products using Berkshire Grown’s Guide to Local Food & Farms or the Food and Farms searchable map. For a statewide list, visit massdairy.com.
Supporting your local dairy farmers is important
Dairy farmers are considered the “anchor tenants” of the region’s farmland base. Only 2% of the farms in the state are dairy farms but they steward 22% of all land in farms and account for 10% of the region’s farm product sales (Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences and 2012 Ag census).
On average, a farm with 100 cows supports 200 acres of crop land, woodland and pasture. Successful dairy farms keep our landscape open and support important farm services, like equipment repair, that are important to all farms in our region.
A recent study by American Farmland Trust, entitled Increasing Local Milk Processing Capacity: Benefits to Pioneer Valley Consumers and Communities, describes the importance of the dairy industry, the challenges of achieving profitability on New England dairy farms, and the potential impact of an investment in infrastructure for dairy processing.
Get to know your dairy farmers
Dairy farming is a 7 day-a-week/365 day-a-year job and the health and comfort of their cows is a top priority for our farmers. Learn about dairy farming from the farmers themselves.
MA Dairy Promotion Board Video Channel: Video’s about Massachusetts dairy farmers.
Must be the milk: More videos about Massachusetts dairy farmers.
MA Department of Ag Resources Dairy page: https://www.mass.gov/dairy-program
Many dairy farmers sell into milk cooperatives. Here is information about the most common milk cooperatives in our state:
Agrimark/Cabot (Cabot butter is made in West Springfield, MA!): https://www.agrimark.net/
Dairy Farmers of America: http://www.dfamilk.com/
Dairy farmers can also produce and sell raw and/or organic milk. Find out more here:
NOFA/Mass Raw Milk Network: http://www.nofamass.org/programs/raw-milk-network#.UbD4EdiXSLp
Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance: http://www.nodpa.com/