MONTPELIER, Vt. — Many dairy farms are facing significant financial challenges. The price of milk has been at or below the cost of production for years. Many farms are losing money each year while their equity is getting smaller and smaller. Some dairy farms have fallen behind on bank loans or have growing open accounts with feed dealers and other creditors. Making difficult decisions can be even more complicated when the farm is a family affair.
The Environmental Mediation Center’s Vermont Agricultural Mediation Program (VTAMP) has initiated a project to help dairy farms reach consensus among family members and/or business partners about future operations of their dairy farm. Support from the Working Lands Enterprise Fund will allow VTAMP to provide intra-family mediation and counseling to dairy farms in Vermont facing financial challenges. VTAMP currently provides free mediation services to farmers in Vermont on financial or credit concerns and other issues, but some dairy farm finances are in critical condition and need additional services.
This project will utilize a multi-disciplinary approach, combining counseling, mediation, and financial and technical advice to help farmers develop options and make informed decisions about the future direction and viability of their farms. Sometimes these conversations can be difficult, or family members or partners may have different visions for the future of the farm.
The project will partner with VHCB’s Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, which provides business and financial planning support, and use intra-family mediation to reach consensus about the best path forward.
For more information or to enroll in the project, please contact Matt Strassberg at the Vermont Agricultural Mediation Program at (802) 583-1100 ext. 101 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Vermont Agricultural Mediation Program, please visit www.vtamp.org.
–VT Ag Mediation Program
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