Danone Shareholders Meeting

April 25, 2022  Danone, owner of Horizon Organic, will hold its annual shareholders meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, April 26, 2022 in France.  In August 2021, Danone notified 89 organic dairy farm families they would be ending their contracts and pulling out of the Northeast U.S. market.  Many of the affected farm families have been providing organic milk to Horizon Organic for decades and were instrumental in building the successful Horizon Organic brand.

Danone’s decision to leave the Northeast region, one of the largest consumer markets, is devastating to the region, and farm-advocates voiced their fury with 15,324 petition signatures in November 2021 calling for Danone to repair the damage leaving the entire Northeast region will have on the farm economy and rural communities. In December, Danone responded with a commitment to 1.) extend farm contracts an additional 6-months for the 89 producers, 2.) provide a small (6% of the milk check for 6 months or $2 per hundred pounds of milk) transition payment for the affected farm families, and 3.) provide a monetary investment in the Northeast region to support these dairy farmers and the region’s organic dairy industry.

Danone has honored their first commitment to extend contracts, but has not provided specific details on how they plan to pay farmers their transition payment nor how they intend to invest in the region.

Producer groups supporting farmers affected by the Danone exit, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, Inc., Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, and Organic Farmers Association, call on Danone to pay farmers their transition payments immediately based on the last 6 months of production from the date of their 2021 termination notice.  They also urge Danone to match the $20 million granted by the USDA to the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center to follow through on their commitment for financial investment in the region to support northeast organic dairies.

Danone is one of the largest B Corporations and thus has committed to putting people over profits—a commitment its corporate decision to leave the Northeast region decision directly violates.  It is imperative that shareholders hold Danone accountable at the shareholder meeting tomorrow.  Danone must stand up for its farm families that have built the corporate success Danone will be celebrating tomorrow.


Media Contact:

Ed Maltby, Executive Director, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA)

emaltby@comcast.net; 413-427-7323