Local News

Farmers reap the harvest of the buy-local trend

Posted July 18, 2009 5:58 p.m. EDT
Updated July 19, 2009 3:40 p.m. EDT

— A new survey suggests that amidst a down economy, consumers are increasingly turning to local farmers for food.

The Dairy Farmers of America and Borden Cheese recently commissioned a survey, which found 82 percent of Americans want to purchase locally-grown food.

Four in five consumers said they will opt to buy dairy products whose proceeds are returned directly to U.S. dairy farmers, highlighting the value of member-owned cooperatives. Eighty percent of those surveyed viewed cooperatives as an effective way to revitalize the local economy.

Third-generation dairy farmer Norman Jordan is part of a farm cooperative. He says the recession has affected his profit margin at Brush Creek Farm in Siler City.

“We are losing money everyday, every gallon we sell, we are losing money,” Jordan said.

Jordan says the cost to feed cattle has gone up, while prices at the dairy market have gone done.

"This is probably the most stress that the industry has experienced, at least within my lifetime, and probably within my father's and my grandfather's lifetime,” Jordan said.

Despite profits being down, Jordan and others say they are pleased with the buy-local movement.

“The local farmers are so important to our community. They are the last place where we can truly buy healthy food,” said, Laura Combs, farmers market shopper.

Nearly nine in 10 people polled nationally said it is important to purchase food where the proceeds go directly to local farmers.

"I think that is great. I think it is good that all the revenue is staying in North Carolina,” said, Jasmine Williams, farmers market shopper.

The survey was conducted by the Kelton Research Company.