Demand Danone/Horizon Stand with Northeast Organic Dairy Farmers
Danone (owner of Horizon Organic Milk) is the global leader in fresh dairy products, owns over 20 brands, and is a 10.3 billion-dollar company, but they claim they cannot afford to continue to support family organic dairy farms that have helped build the Horizon Organic brand for decades. Instead, they are choosing to end contracts with 89 Northeast organic dairy farm families. As a certified “B Corp” Danone is required to use its business as a force for good, but this action from Danone is disgraceful and will hurt Northeast farm families and their communities.
Sign your name to this petition to demand Danone do the right thing and reinstate these farmers who are producing organic milk the right way. Treat family farmers with R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
Visit the petition website and add your name to the form here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/saveneorganicdairy
What’s in the letter? We’ve copied it below.
To: Greg Wolf, Director Producer Relation Mgmt and Shane Grant, Exec. Vice Pres. & CEO, Danone North America
From: [Your Name]
Dear Danone North America/Horizon Organic,
As a certified B Corporation, Danone claims to “use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.”
But your business decision to terminate organic milk contracts with a large number of Northeast organic dairies flies in the face of what you say you stand for. It is especially duplicitous as you continue to buy milk from “organic” Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) that contribute to the organic milk glut, undermine the integrity of the organic label, and drive pay prices below the cost of milk production for the majority of organic dairy farms.
The organic farm families you are ending contracts with help to sustain local veterinarians, feed and farm suppliers, schools, hospitals, tax base, and downtown businesses. This mass termination will have a profound and negative impact on local economies, community resilience, and the local environment. We ask that Danone North America take the following steps to protect the farm families and local communities that rely on these contractual relationships for their survival:
1. Reconsider exiting from ME, VT, NH, and NY. Fluid milk production is important to the food security of the Northeast, and already the region’s demand far outweighs its supply. Many of these family dairy farms have been with Horizon for decades. Danone’s mission and B Corp certification necessitate a solution where Danone can be both efficient and respectful of the farm families that helped to build the Horizon brand. Danone has worked in France with regional milk-pooling stations and other innovative solutions that could lead to new methods for local food systems in the U.S. Danone has invested millions into other Northeast plant-based milk facilities in the past few years and we ask that you also invest in the farm families that have given your company so much over the years. Come to the table to find a solution that allows you to stay.
2. Extend the date of the contract termination to 18 months (rather than the 12 months currently offered). As each individual farm family works on plans for their future, they need more lead time to find other markets, seek debt relief, or otherwise plan a transition that works for them.
3. Offer a contract severance package or contract retirement package bonus to the affected Northeast dairies in recognition of their long-time relationship with the company and their willingness to commit to the capital-intensive production of high-quality organic milk that established the reputation of Horizon Organic. Each organic farm will suffer the loss of planned income, and each will have expenses outside their normal personal and business budgets because of Danone’s actions.
Any offers should ensure that the Northeast organic dairy farm families are compensated for the loss of their market at a time when there are no alternative organic milk contracts and the life-changing decisions they will be thrust into by the termination of long-term contracts. Danone, a B corporation, has stated its commitment to supporting the next generations of farmers–offering these resources is essential to supporting the next generation of farmers and their communities.