FREEPORT, Maine — Wolfe’s Neck Center is pleased to announce the completion and dedication of a new Organic Dairy Teaching Facility. This facility and the two-year, residential training program it supports was developed in partnership with Stonyfield, with the goal of training the next generation of organic dairy farmers.
The new organic dairy facility includes a compost-bedded pack barn, milkhouse with public viewing area, covered manure storage facility and a commodity shed. A separate calf barn will be added to the facility in the future. This facility is the latest piece of a long-range plan to transform Wolfe’s Neck Center into a leading center to address, research and provide insight on the critical intersection of agriculture/food and environment/climate.
“The average age of dairy farmers across the country is approaching 60 and the consolidation of farms has dramatically reduced the number of family-sized farms in Maine and across the country,” said Dave Herring, Executive Director. “Together with our partners at Stonyfield, we are working to support the next generation of organic dairy farmers. We see this program, and others like it around the country, as playing a critical role in helping support a thriving agricultural sector in the future.”
In 2014, Stonyfield Organic, the leading organic yogurt producer in the U.S., formed a partnership with Wolfe’s Neck to leverage their ability to impact the next generation of farmers. With a $1.69 million grant through Stonyfield, WNC launched a first-of-its kind training program for organic dairy farmers.
“The kind of work happening at Wolfe’s Neck is critical to charting a more sustainable path forward for agriculture. We are thrilled to partner with them and continue to provide leadership support to the farmer training and climate smart farming initiatives,” said Britt Lundgren, Stonyfield Director of Organic and Sustainable Agriculture.
In the program, aspiring organic dairy farmers spend two years at Wolfe’s Neck Center living on site, receiving intensive training in organic farm and pasture management, animal health and comfort, and business planning. This program was further bolstered in 2016 when the organization secured a $573,256 grant from the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.
Since its inception, five Apprentices have completed their two-year training program at Wolfe’s Neck Center and have secured employment in the dairy and ag sector in Maine.
More information can be found at wolfesneck.org.
— Wolfe’s Neck Center
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