The suspense is over. By: Lorraine Merrill
On Monday, the French dairy giant Danone announced an agreement to sell its U.S subsidiary Stonyfield to Lactalis for $875 million. Danone, which also markets Dannon yogurt in the U.S., had agreed to sell organic yogurt maker Stonyfield to appease concerns over competition when it proposed to buy U.S. organic and specialty food company WhiteWave.
The process of selling Londonderry, New Hampshire-based Stonyfield, the nation’s top organic yogurt producer, generated much speculation in the industry and in the business media. Leading prospects included the biggest dairy conglomerates in China and Mexico. The Lactalis Group, also a French company, already owns other American brands including Galbani, Sorrento and President cheeses. Rabobank, the big Dutch agricultural bank, rates Lactalis as the second-largest dairy company in the world and Danone as No. 3. Swiss giant Nestle is No. 1 and Dairy Farmers of America, the largest U.S. dairy farmer cooperative, comes in fourth place.
The deal is expected to be completed in the third quarter.
Stonyfield had nearly $400 million in sales last year and employs about 365 people, mostly in New Hampshire.
Danone agreed to divest Stonyfield in order to gain approval from the U.S. Department of Justice for the $10 billion deal to acquire WhiteWave. The two companies own numerous brands including Dannon, Oikos, Activia, Silk, Evian and Horizon Organic.
Farm Credit East Grants
Farm stands and farmers markets are hopping as July kicks summer into full swing.
Farm Credit East just announced eight $1,000 grants to support farmers markets throughout the region.
“Farm Credit East is pleased to support local farmers and farmers markets, as well as the local communities these markets bring together,” said Bill Lipinski, Farm Credit East CEO. “Farmers markets provide many of our members with an additional outlet to market their products and offer consumers a great place to buy locally grown farm products.”
New Hampshire’s Seacoast Eat Local, one of the eight recipient farmers markets and organizations, will use their grant money to enhance SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) benefits at the many markets they work with in the Seacoast. Seacoast Eat Local, one of the largest and most innovative organized SNAP farmers market service providers in the state, provides SNAP services to seven summer markets and four farm stands, as well as their winter markets and mobile farmers market.
Opening for its first season last year, the Rochester Farmers Market attracts families and people of all ages and walks of life, with a cadre of dedicated volunteers and vendors. The market features music, food demonstrations, horse-drawn wagon rides, interactive story-telling for children and more all in the scenic setting of the Rochester Common.
In the 17 weeks the market was open in 2016, the SNAP/EBT program was utilized over 500 times.
In addition to the SNAP Market Match program, the Rochester Farmers Market offers a program to provide fresh local food to area veterans.
The market has raised $32,000 in community donations to provide veterans up to $20 in Veterans Matter vouchers to be used on any items at the market, triple the amount raised last year. The Veterans Matter vouchers are distributed as four $5 vouchers that can be redeemed at the market every Tuesday in September.
Most of the donations are deposited in a World War II helmet on the counter at Benedict’s Grill. To be eligible, veterans need to bring a copy of their DD214 form or their Veteran’s Affairs health care enrollee card, plus a current New Hampshire driver’s license that shows they live within Strafford County.
Source: Lancaster Farming