I wrote an article a couple of months ago asking if there is room in the market for small organic dairy farmers. I focused on the small Maine dairy co-op MOOMilk, which was formed by organic farmers after their contracts were dropped by dairy giant H.P. Hood. Things didn't go smoothly for MOOMilk in the early years, and at times they came close to shutting down. Their struggles were wonderfully captured on screen by filmmakers Cecily Pingree and Jason Mann in the documentary "Betting The Farm."

Yesterday I read an article by my friend Whit Richardson about a $3 million investment landed by MOOMilk. The company is incorporated as an L3C corporation; a designation that allows them receive grants and endowments as if they were a nonprofit in recognition of their co-op structure and low profits. This latest infusion of cash is coming in as an investment, though the actual investor and the stake in the company are not being disclosed by MOOMilk.

This is fantastic news not only for MOOMilk, but for all small organic dairy farmers, both in and out of Maine. If MOOMilk falls, its member farmers will have little choice but to abandon organic practices or to shut down all together. Most of the MOOMilk farmers live in northern Maine and have small spreads, making it harder to compete with much larger industrial dairy farms located closer to distribution facilities. MOOMilk is building a model that can hopefully be replicated all over the world. We will all be better served when more farmers directly control the distribution and marketing of their products.

Nice work MOOMilk!

Read more about MOOMilk, cows, and organic dairy here on MNN:

Dairy farmers launch organic brand

Organic dairy farmers air their problems

Happier organic cows

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