More than 30 farmers in Jefferson County have a new deal to sell their milk.
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Credit: Commonwealth Media Services

Peck Homestead Farm owner John Peck says it’s been tough for dairy farmers to do business during the pandemic.

“Frustration, a little bit of chaos and a lot of stress,” he said.

Peck is a part of a co-op called the Jefferson County Bulk Milk Cooperative.

The group hasn’t had a processor since it lost its deal with Kraft Heinz at the end of 2019, which caused the 30 plus farmers involved to take drastic measures.

“There was a month and a half where virtually all of our milk was being dumped so it was an extremely stressful spring and it’s been a very tender summer,” said Peck.

However, the cooperative is announcing it has struck a deal with Upstate Niagara Cooperative out of Buffalo, which already has processing plants in St. Lawrence County and the Syracuse area.

Murcrest Farm owner Lynn Murray is a part of the cooperative and he says the stability is something they have been waiting for.

“We are pretty excited. We have been selling the milk on a week to week basis for most of the year. It’s just nice to have a solid contract that sells all of our milk,” said Murray.

Peck says the new contract allows the co-op to take a breather for now, but he says moving forward they will continue to create relationships to get a contract done for next year.

“We are still in the game and we just still need to keep our game face on moving forward,” he said.

The new contract starts on September 1 and runs until December 31.

Highway closures force Okanagan dairy farmers to dump milk as it can’t get to Coast for processing.

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