Grafton Village Cheese Co., makers of award-winning, handcrafted Vermont cheddar cheese, announced today it will begin paying its local milk suppliers a special premium while milk prices are below the cost of production. The Company is working in concert with its two milk co-ops Agri-Mark and DMS, both of which have given Grafton Cheese permission to send checks directly to the farmers.Grafton Village Cheese is a major business of the Grafton, Vermont-based Windham Foundation whose mission is to promote Vermont s rural communities. All of the milk used for Grafton Cheese is from Vermont family farms, located primarily in southern and central Vermont. As a high quality Vermont cheddar cheese producer, we depend upon milk from Vermont dairy farms, and we are very concerned about the viability of our Vermont dairy farmers at a time of extremely low milk prices, said Adam Mueller, President of Grafton Village Cheese. Consequently, we are working with our milk suppliers to provide farmers in southern and central Vermont an additional premium for the milk they provide to our Grafton Village Cheese plants in Grafton and Brattleboro.Starting in April, while milk prices are below cost of production, Grafton Cheese will pay farmers an additional premium based on the butterfat, protein and somatic cell content of the milk. As the class three milk price increases the premium will decline on a sliding scale, becoming zero when milk price reaches $20/cwt.Grafton Cheese already pays significant quality premiums and handling costs for its milk to its co-ops. This new initiative is an additional premium that will be mailed directly to the farmers by Grafton Cheese.About Grafton Village CheeseThe Grafton Village Cheese Company, located in Grafton and Brattleboro, Vermont, handcrafts artisanal cheddar cheese. The company was founded in 1892 as the Grafton Cooperative Cheese Company, which converted surplus milk from local dairy farmers into cheese. Years later, a fire destroyed the original factory. When the Windham Foundation restored the company in the mid 1960s, a new era for the town was born. Today, quality and taste continue to serve as the hallmark of Grafton cheddar. As part of the nonprofit Windham Foundation, much of Grafton Cheese s annual earned income funds the Foundation s charitable programs. More information on Grafton Village Cheese Company can be found online at graftonvillagecheese.com.