A group of dairy farmers are working on a plan to make their business more sustainable, by getting into the business of processing their own milk. That plan to create a niche creamery is now one step closer to reality thanks to a state grant.
The Ma & Pa Creamery LLC is a partnership of 6 Sullivan County dairy farms, including Diehl Farms in Callicoon. The farmers have been working with Cornell Cooperative Extension, state and local partners as well as a business consultant to develop the idea for the creamery, which would specialize in milk and dairy with a higher market value.
Daniel Diehl says that farms like his family's have been working to make ends meet in an industry fraught with high regulation, low prices and high costs. He says that keeping the farm going is about more than selling milk.
"Growing up as a kid I was always on the tractor with my grandfather, he taught me pretty much everything there is about farming," says Diehl. "I want my kids to enjoy the same thing growing up."
The next step is to develop a feasibility study and marketing study in hopes to gain more funding to build the creamery. The goal is to get the dairy farms back in the black so that the businesses that depend on them can also thrive.