An effort by organic dairy producers in Maine to market their own milk is shutting down. Maine’s Own Organic (MOO) Milk is disbanding leaving the producers to pursue contracts with other processors.
The co-op had stopped processing milk in May after equipment problems put them in a situation where they needed to make some major investments.
The announcement stated the company was not filing for bankruptcy and had sufficient cash on hand to pay all of its obligations to farmers, vendors and employees.
Efforts to get the 12 member-producers to agree on a new processor failed. In a prepared statement, MOO CEO Bill Eldridge said, “It simply made sense for each farm to form their own relationships going forward.
MOO Milk was formed after H.P. Hood reduced the amount of organic milk it would take from Maine farmers during the economic crisis of 2009. Eldridge says at the time, there were few options for the producers but that has changed. Reports say a number of processors are interested in the milk including Organic Valley and Horizon.
The following statement is on the MOO Milk website:
As you may have heard already in the news, as of today the MOO Milk Farmers have agreed to disband and seek individual contracts for their milk. For the present, there is no plan to revive the MOO Milk retail brand.
For the past two months, we have been working with a variety of businesses to secure a long-term contract for all of the farmers. It has been our goal from the beginning to ensure that all MOO farms have a viable option for selling their milk. After discussions with Oakhurst, Stonyfield, and Organic Valley, the farmers have opted to pursue separate relationships on their own. Each farmer has their own geographic challenges, set of priorities, and values, and it simply makes sense for them to form their own relationships going forward.
In 2009, when Hood discontinued the contract with each of these organic farmers, there were few opportunities them. We are happy to report that five years later, this is not the case. MOO Milk appreciates each organization that stepped up to present potential opportunities to support these Maine farmers, and we encourage all MOO Milk fans to continue to support our farmers and organic farming in Maine.
It’s been a great journey for all of us, and we appreciate you joining us for the ride. For now, we’re signing off, and we wish you all the best.