Senator Deb Reynolds, chair of the Milk Producers Emergency Relief Fund (MPERF) Board, invites legislators, farmers, conservationists and consumers to a public informational forum on the Keep Local Farms initiative. The forum will be held in Representatives Hall of the State House in Concord on Tuesday, December 8 at 10:00 am. Keep Local Farms is a new voluntary program that is a joint effort of New England dairy farmers and the six New England state departments of agriculture, with the goals of stabilizing New England’s dairy farms and ensuring residents of a continuing supply of fresh, locally produced milk and dairy products. The December 8th forum will explain how the program works.
The forum is for anyone interested in New Hampshire’s milk supply and where it comes from, and where it will come from in the future. It is also for all those interested in maintaining the dairy farms that provide additional benefits of the scenic working landscape and rural character to New Hampshire communities, protect ground and surface water supplies, wildlife habitat and open lands enjoyed by outdoors enthusiasts of all kinds.
While the MPERF Board has determined that the state’s dairy industry is in need of assistance due to the depression of farm milk prices throughout 2009, (where farmers have been paid half of their costs to produce milk), the state’s revenue and budget shortfalls have left the fund established by the legislature in 2006 unfunded. The MPERF board is hosting this public forum on the Keep Local Farms initiative to raise awareness of the situation caused by the unprecedented, low milk market prices, and of this new opportunity to compensate farmers more fairly for what they produce and contribute to their communities and region.
The Keep Local Farms program connects consumers with dairy farmers through education and direct support. This is an opportunity for consumers who are interested in purchasing local foods to support local dairy farmers, their community and the local economy. For more information or to contribute, go to the website: www.keeplocalfarms.