WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWTI) — Contracts will be terminated with Horizon Organics for many dairy farms in New York next summer. According to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the contract terminations are “devastating” to affected New Yorkers.
That’s why Schumer is looking to the multinational food conglomerate Danone, which owns Horizon Organics, for more information. In a statement, the senator from New York said:
“New York’s dairy farmers are the lifeblood of the Upstate economy and after years of being wrung dry by a system that disadvantages them, many are now at the edge of an economic precipice. For an industry that has razor-thin margins as it is and saw historic losses during the COVID crisis, for many family-owned organic dairy farms losing their contracts with Horizon Organics will be the final pull on the rug under them. Danone must do right by these farms and ensure their long-term economic viability.”
Nearly two months ago, Danone announced that in August 2022, Horizon Organic would terminate contracts with 89 dairy farms in the Northeast. More than half of the farms are located in Upstate New York, with more in Vermont.
In a letter to Danone, Schumer asked the company to confirm the number of New York farms to be affected, the timeline and process for termination, why the contracts were terminated, and what relief or aid will be provided to impacted farms.
Schumer also asked Danone how many farms in New York will the company be working with once contracts are complete, and the average herd size at those farms. He also asked if the Department of Agriculture’s “origin of livestock” rule played into the decision to terminate contracts.
Danone made announced contract terminations in August. Since then, the company and the Department of Agriculture have received bipartisan pushback from local lawmakers Schumer, Sens. Patrick Leahy, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Bernie Sanders, and Reps. Elise Stefanik and Peter Welch.