Dairy Farmer Gets Cut From Hood and Starts MOOing
When Aaron Bell got severed from his contract with Hood for milk, he decided to take matters into his own hands. Starting a cooperative with other dairy farmers called MOOMilk (Maine's Own Organic Milk), Bell is cutting out the middle man to earn his own profit.
Caught between ballooning feed costs, an uncertain economy, political gamesmanship and milk processors that increasingly value the efficiency of sourcing from a few large-scale producers, dairy farmers have become a dwindling lot.When Bell was dropped by Hood in 2009, along with nine other Maine dairy farmers, they decided to form a collective and try to market their product directly to consumers.
The idea is not exactly new. Milk cooperatives cropped up in the late 1800s to negotiate prices with dealers who were delivering to burgeoning urban markets, and they peaked in the 1940s. After that, dairy farms started to consolidate.