WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWTI) — Contracts will be terminated with Horizon Organics for many dairy farms in New York next summer.
In response, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer is seeking additional information from the multinational food conglomerate Danone, which owns Horizon Organics. According to Schumer, the contract terminations are “devastating” to those impacted in New York.
“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,” Senator Schumer said in a press release. “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.
In a letter to Danone, Senator 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.
Senator Schumer also asked Danone that once contracts are complete, how many farms in New York will the company be working with and the average herd size at those farms.
He also asked Danone if the United States Department of Agriculture’s Origin of Livestock rule played into the decision to terminate contracts.
Danone made this announcement of contract terminations on August 26. Since the announcement, the company, as well as the United States Department of Agriculture has received push back from local lawmakers.
This includes Senator Schumer (D-NY), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Representative Peter Welch (D-VT).