DEXTER, Maine - A group of organic farmers representing three different producers is calling for a nationwide boycott of all H.P. Hood branded products and Stonyfield Organic Milk, also produced by Hood, because of what they term unfair business practices.
In February, Hood told eight Maine organic dairy farmers in Aroostook and Washington counties that their milk contracts would not be renewed. This spring the company gave two more farmers, one in Dexter and one in Clinton, the same message.
"Let it start here, in Maine," dairy farmer Mark McKusick said Friday at his farm in Dexter. "We are calling on all farmers and consumers in other states to join us."
McKusick said that at a recent meeting of the Maine Organic Milk Producers, a straw vote showed a majority of Maine producers support the boycott. "They represented farmers supplying milk to Horizon, Organic Valley, Hood and Stonyfield," he said.
"If enough farmers and consumers stick together it will have an effect," Martin Lane of Shady Lane Farms in New Vineyard said.
The movement comes just weeks before the first of the Maine organic dairy farmers' contracts expires on Aug. 1.
McKusick and Richard Lary, a Clinton organic dairy farmer, also were dropped by the company after they publicly criticized Hood.
"They promised us the moon and then bailed on us," said Cheryl McKusick, Mark McKusick's wife. "When I asked Hood to meet with the producers, [a Hood official] told me I was confused. I feel Stonyfield is more concerned with cows passing gas than the farmers that supply them."
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Organic Dairy Farmers Urge Boycott of Hood and Stonyfield
By Sharon Kiley Mack
Bangor Daily News - ME, July 11, 2009
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