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NODPA E-NEWSLETTER | April 10, 2013
OTA announces moving to the next stage of establishing an Organic check-off program

At a time when organic and sustainable agriculture are being attacked from all sides in Congress, OTA has decided to move to the next level in its bid to establish an Organic Research and Promotion Program. These actions will continue to split the organic community, especially in the eyes of Congress, at a time when we need to be working together.

In the spring edition of the Organic Report, OTA laid out their plan to mail out information to 20,000 certified operations plus send postcards and emails to promote a website that only promotes the benefits of an organic federal check-off program http://www.unitedformoreorganic.com/ . The website does not point out the disadvantages, the legal problems and all the many issues raised by producer and consumer groups nor does it provide a link to the NODPA webpage that highlights these problems. OTA continues to promote a ‘discussion’ that has a pre-determined conclusion and continues to fail to accurately report comments made at their Town Hall meetings. Despite their protests that they are not promoting a mandatory Federal Research and Promotion Program, all their promotional materials push the idea and they are now distorting the reality by calling it a “cooperative research and marketing program.”

Our request again to the OTA Board, the OTA Check-off Steering Committee and OTA staff is to re-consider their approach to this issue and prevent a rift in the organic community.

  • We ALL say yes to continue to ask Congress to amend the 2002 language so that all organic certified operations can be exempt from paying into the conventional check-off program, returning money to producers and processors to use as they wish.
  • We ask the OTA to STOP advocating for organic to become a commodity under the Federal Research and Promotion Program – there is a great deal of opposition to the idea. To ask for regulatory language now is premature and pre-determines the outcome of any community dialogue.
  • WE ask the OTA to work with all groups to develop a process to have a community dialogue that is transparent, accessible to everyone with an outcome that is not pre-determined and not organized by any one organization. The current messaging and Town Hall meetings are controlled by OTA and direct the discussion to only one outcome that many in the organic community do not want. There is a great model for consulting the organic community that was used to develop the Organic Action Plan and we suggest that this could be one alternative way to reach out to everyone in an open, honest and transparent way.

Say NO to dividing the organic community –
Say YES to working together to provide a solution

For more information please go to:

NODPA’s Webpage: http://nodpa.com/checkoff_opposition.shtml and

OTA’s Webpage: http://www.ota.com/ORPP.html?idp=3&ida=32 and

http://www.unitedformoreorganic.com/

Feed and Pay price

USDA AMS reports that the total organic fluid milk sales for January 2013 of 189 million pounds, down 1.8% from January 2012. Organic Whole Milk sales for January 2013 of 51 million pounds were up 7.2% compared with January 2012.  Organic fluid milk sales for 2012 were 4% higher than in 2011, an increase in retail sales of 3.25 million ½ gallons of organic milk or the production from 98 herds of 60 cows producing an average of 14,000 lbs. per year. As we have seen smaller herd disappear from organic production in the northeast one must assume that this increase in production comes from herds that have economies of scale or have the ability to grow their own feed.

The average retail price of an organic milk half gallon remains in the mid-$3 range at $3.59, but more interesting the gap between the high and low price has lessened with a price range of $2.79 to $3.99. The all-important gap between non-organic and organic retail price on average is now down to $1.55 per ½ gallon which is one of the lowest this year but not as low as one year ago when the price spread was only 96 cents, with conventional half gallons priced at $2.12 and organic half gallons priced at $3.08. For more details please go to:

payprice_update_04102013.shtml

Organic feed prices have not followed the non-organic price down but trading reported by USDA AMS is at a near standstill as buyers have their needs met despite growers wanting to sell inventory. Quality forage is hard to come by as spring grazing in the Northeast is slow to start up. For updated data please go to:

feed_prices_04-10-13.shtml

Renovating Pastures with
Frost-Seeded Clovers

Frost seeding has traditionally been an economical way to use legumes to thicken an existing grass stand or to establish a clover mix in an overwintering small grain stand (wheat is the most common, but rye and triticale are also frequently used).  In some cases, thinning alfalfa stands can also be improved with a frost-seeding of clovers. Dave Wilson, Forage Research Agronomist at Kings AgriSeeds, has an informative and timely article on frost seeding:

production_forage_frost-seeding-clover-040313.shtml

Evaluating Perennial Ryegrass Blends for Improving Pasture Productivity and Extending the Grazing Season

A 2010 needs assessment of organic dairy producers in the Northeast region revealed that extending the grazing season, complying with the new pasture rules, and implementing strategies to facilitate value-added marketing of milk are major challenges to the industry.  To address these issues, a multi-state team of university and USDA researchers and extension specialists, collaborating with several organic dairy farms, were successful in obtaining a USDA-Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative grant titled, “Assessing Organic Dairy Producers to Meet the Demands of New and Emerging Milk Markets.”  This multi-year grant has many objectives including 1) the assessment of multi-cultivar mixtures for optimizing pasture resources while extending the grazing season, 2) identification of annual forages to enhance and extend the grazing season while improving nutritional quality, and 3) evaluating the utility of supplemental organic flaxseed to further bolster health beneficial fatty acid components and enhance the marketability of organic milk. To read an article by Sid Bosworth, Extension Forage Specialist, University of Vermont on the first objective please go to:

research_ed_perennial_ryegrass_040313.shtml

UNH wants to hear from you on kelp meal – survey should be in your mailbox

The use of kelp meal in the Northeast is believed to be widespread and in order to continue with future research in this area, we are asking NODPA members to fill out a brief survey about kelp meal. This survey will give farmers an opportunity to share questions, comments, and concerns about kelp meal supplementation and will provide UNH researchers with valuable information on the demographics and feeding practices related to kelp meal. Please look for this upcoming survey and mail back your responses using the pre-addressed and pre-paid envelopes. Please contact Dr. André Brito [Assistant Professor of Organic Dairy Management; andre.brito@unh.edu; (603) 862-1341] with any questions. Download the full survey at:

UNH_Kelp Meal Survey_NODPA.pdf

US Organic Dairy Politics survey

It’s just 9 questions, and your comments are important.
Paste in your server or hit:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/83QSVHP

Feel free to forward to others. More info is in the survey, or from me. Thanks! Bruce.

bruce.scholten@btopenworld.com
www.durham.ac.uk/b.a.scholten
Honorary Research Fellow
Durham University Geography Dept. UK

Lice – The Quiet Thief

“Some things never change. I get the same scenario every winter, starting about in December, depending on when fall turns into winter,” says Dr Paul Detloff .

When farmers in the northern climates lock up their cows, they also lock up the lice that have been spending their summers in their cow’s ears. Lice cannot handle skin temperatures of 106 or higher; they will jump ship. If the skin temperature hits 122-123 degrees, they die. The sun is a louse’s demise. Dr Paul Dettloff has a large animal practice in Aracadia, Wisconsin, and has worked with CROPP Cooperative (Organic Valley) as a consulting veterinarian since 2002. He is the author of a popular book titled ‘Alternative Treatments for Ruminants Animals’ and has his own product line of Dr Paul’s Health products for livestock. To read his full article, please go to:

production_health_lice_04_03_13.shtml

-- Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director  

NODPA NEWS & NOTES

The Latest Feed Prices

Organic feed prices have not followed the non-organic price down but trading reported by USDA AMS is at a near standstill as buyers have their needs met despite growers wanting to sell inventory. Quality forage is hard to come by as spring grazing in the Northeast is slow to start up. For updated data please go to:

feed_prices_04-10-13.shtml

Pay and Retail Price update

The average retail price of an organic milk half gallon remains in the mid-$3 range at $3.59, but more interesting the gap between the high and low price has lessened with a price range of $2.79 to $3.99. The all-important gap between non-organic and organic retail price on average is now down to $1.55 per ½ gallon which is one of the lowest this year but not as low as one year ago when the price spread was only 96 cents, with conventional half gallons priced at $2.12 and organic half gallons priced at $3.08. For more details please click here.

13th Annual NODPA Field Days,
September 26 & 27, 2013

with KTS Farm Tour and in conjunction with Holistic Management International

Planning has begun for NODPA’s 13th Annual Field Days that will be held at Mansfield Hose Company Banquet Hall, Mansfield, Pennsylvania on September 26 & 27, 2013. Our agenda is taking shape around providing organic dairy farmers the tools to enhance the health, productivity and profitability of their land and family while effectively and significantly increasing annual profits. On Thursday, in conjunction with Holistic Management International, NODPA will focus on whole farm planning using holistic management principles and will visit Kress and Tammy Simpson’s KTS Farm, Mansfield PA, to view these practices in action. Friday will focus on the important and timely issues confronting all organic dairy farm families, along with educational workshops.
In addition to a strong educational agenda and instructive farm tour, we will have our annual social hour and banquet, featuring local, organic food, and NODPA’s Annual Meeting on Thursday evening, and our producer-only meeting on Friday morning.  You will be able to visit the diverse trade show throughout the two-day event, and will have many opportunities to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. More information on the agenda will follow in the May NODPA News and online, at www.nodpa.com, so for now, SAVE THE DATE!

Look for Sponsorship and Tradeshow information in your email and mailboxes in the near future. For more information, or if you have questions about sponsoring or exhibiting at the NODPA Field Days, contact NODPA Field Days Coordinator Nora Owens anytime at noraowens@comcast.net or 413-772-0444.

Recent ODairy Discussions

Ever wonder what organic dairy farmers deal with daily in managing their herd without the use of the immediate fixes of the conventional world? Some excerpts for Odairy conversations can give you an insight: A producer asked the group if anyone had experience with calf warmers, in particular the Polydome type; a calf was born after a difficult calving, and within an hour of birth began to seizure; a farmer asked about treatment options for ringworm on calves; the greatest number of posts last month was on the subject of Staph aureus (a cow that tests positive for Staph aureus should be culled if she is older than 2 years, is chronically infected, is in a later stage of lactation, has lumpy quarters, has a SCC of more than 400,000, or if she has additional problems like lameness, etc). For more of what happens on the Odairy listserve on a daily basis, read NODPA President Liz Bawden’s recent summary or, to join or visit the listserve, go to /list_serv.shtml

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If you haven't joined this list yet, we encourage you to give it a try. To Join ODAIRY, please follow these simple instructions.

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