Dairy Farming

 

Bristol Aggie’s herd of dairy cows graze in pastures along the Taunton River.

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Local Dairy

Massachusetts is home to 125 dairy farms and 15% are in Bristol, Plymouth, and Norfolk Counties.

Most of the milk produced by our region’s dairy farmers is processed regionally and sold regionally. A study by the Manomet 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 jug of milk or dairy product is processed you can look up it’s tracking code here.

You can buy milk, cheese, and other dairy products directly from farmers at farm stands or farmer’s markets. For a statewide list, visit massdairy.com.

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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 10% of all land in farms and account for 10% of the region’s farm product sales (2017 Ag census).

On average, a farm with 100 cows supports 200 acres of cropland, 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 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.

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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.

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Massachusetts Organizations

Massachusetts Daily Promotion Board, or find them on Facebook!

MA Department of Agricultural Resources Dairy Page

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Milk Cooperatives

Many dairy farmers sell into milk cooperatives. Here is information about the most common milk cooperatives in our state:

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Raw Milk

Dairy farmers can also produce and sell raw and/or organic milk. Find out more here:

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