TULLY, N.Y. (NCC News) — Central New York yogurt maker Chobani is working with Fair Trade USA to become the first in the United States dairy industry to be certified with a Fair Trade seal of approval.
The rollout for Fair Trade certified dairy products in New York comes with the help of Central New York Farmers.
With 86 percent of millennials looking for responsibly sourced products, Venture Farms is one of less than 10 in Central New York to join the Fair Trade certification program. The program requires farm owners to improve working conditions and hours for farmers and keep cows protected safely with proper shelter and fresh water. After a year of learning the process to begin the Fair Trade certification program, Venture Farms will work with Chobani for the next three years to ensure their dairy products receive the seal.
The Fair Trade Certification Program:
- Requires farms to improve labor practices such as work conditions for employees, work hours, animal treatment, and protection against discrimination and harassment.
- Allows farm owners and co-ops to receive financial benefits from a processor.
- Processors receive a Fair Trade certified seal on their products for all requirements met.
63 percent of consumers are more aware of the products they purchased since 2020, and 72 percent of shoppers are willing to pay more for products with certified seals, according to Fair Trade USA.
New York Farm Bureau Director of County Relations & Development John Wagner attributes this accelerated interest in Fair Trade products to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A lot of consumers really do want to know where their food is sourced from how it is sourced, is it local, how it is grown, and I just think it is a new thing that a lot of people are developing and wanting to look at and it is creating a multitude of opportunity for our farmers,” Wagner said.
For the next three years, Venture farms will continue to fulfill the requirements of this program to be farmers who “build trust, value, and confidence in their products with consumers,” co-owner Joel Riehlman said.