Dear NOFA-VT community,
We have heard a growing concern from dairy farmers about what will happen if they get sick with COVID-19 and cannot work. The average age of dairy farmers is almost 60 in Vermont, putting these crucial food providers at increased risk of the disease. Many dairy operations are run by one or two farmers, often in the same family. Dairy farmers are already economically stressed, and we need to show up and stand by our state's farmers at this challenging time. Milking is not the type of work that can pause for a week or two.
We are proactively seeking to build a list of people skilled enough to lead milkings on farms for the duration of the sickness. NOFA-VT will make funds available through our Farmer Emergency Fund to pay the relief workers. (If you are not a skilled dairy worker, but you are wanting to show up for Vermont's farmers, you can make a donation to our Farmer Emergency Fund here! Thank you.)
If you have experience working on dairy farms, and are willing to show up for our community in this way, please respond to Bill Cavanaugh on our Farmer Services team: [email protected], with your contact information, relevant experience on dairy farms, availability, and location. Again, we will pay you for your time and crucial service.
We will then compile a list and help match folks who can help with those who need it, as the need arises. If you are a farmer, food provider, food service professional, or anyone else who needs support, reach out. We'll do what we can to connect you to the resources and support you're needing.
Thank you for your solidarity and support. We'll get through this, together.
The NOFA-VT team