Wednesday, November 14, 2018
 Agri-Mark Has a Plan for Amish Milk  


Many fear the closing of the Heritage Cheese House could leave Amish dairy farmers high and dry with nowhere to sell their milk, but a Massachusetts dairy cooperative is looking to fill that gap in the market.

Agri-Mark, which also owns Cabot and McCadam Cheese, is helping to build temporary storage and cooling stations, called community milk houses. The facilities will allow Amish milk to meet Grade A standards and open their dairy to a larger market.

"We are trying to help get a market for the Amish and make sure the state requirements are met," said Doug J. DiMento, spokesman for Agri-Mark.

To meet Grade A requirements, milk must be cooled within two hours of being harvested. The Amish are prohibited from owning the machinery to accomplish this because of religious restrictions.

There are two community houses being built in the area, said David B. Elliott, an Agri-Mark field supervisor. Construction has begun in a field near Flackville. Mr. Elliott expects gravel to go in today.

The other milk house will be in Hammond, and Mr. Elliott said construction will begin next week. Mr. Elliott said both facilities should be operational in November.

The Amish producers will put the milk in stainless steel bottles and carry the containers to the milk houses. The milk house will hold bulk tanks that can cool 100 to 300 gallons of milk. The number of bulk tanks in the milk house will depend on the supply of the community, Mr. Elliott said.

The milk houses are being constructed by both Amish and Agri-Mark efforts. The Amish are providing the labor while Agri-Mark deals with everything that does not comply with the Amish religion, such as electricity.

Mr. Elliott said about 40 farmers expressed a desire to ship milk to the facility in Heuvelton.

The Heritage Cheese House was the only dairy plant in the area to accept Amish milk, but with these new facilities the milk could be shipped across the state, Mr. Elliott said.

The Amish will rent the bulk tanks, which will be purchased by Agri-Mark, and some of the milk will be purchased by the co-op.

"It's kind of a two-way street," Mr. Elliott said. "Our obligation as a dairy farmer co-op is to help them find a market and we can get some milk for our plants."

Mr. Elliott asked for anyone looking to sell a 100- to 300-gallon bulk tank to call him at 315-323-5974.

Source: Watertown Daily Times (NY)


Posted on Tuesday, September 30, 2008 (Archive on Tuesday, October 07, 2008)
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