SAVE THE DATE: NODPA 2014 Field Days
The 14th Annual NODPA Field Days will be on Thursday and Friday September 25 & 26, 2014 at Stonewall Farm, in Keene, New Hampshire.
Stonewall Farm is centrally located in Southwest New Hampshire, not far from Brattleboro, VT and Keene, NH. The farm is an educational farm that has an organic dairy, micro-milk processing facility, on-site hydroponic barley fodder operation, cheese and yogurt making capacity, farm store, CSA, and educational programing, and they are experimenting with growing canola for biodiesel as well as creating a small grains cooperative where they share combine harvesting equipment. As we move forward with the planning for the Field Days, as usual, we welcome input from organic dairy producers and their supporters, especially around topics of interest that we can focus on for the NODPA Field Days event.
For more details on sponsorship and to reserve limited trade show space, please contact NODPA event coordinator Nora Owens: email@example.com
Feed and Pay Price
CROPP, Organic Valley’s parent company, has had a good year nearing a billion dollars in sales with an increase of 8.5 percent on previous year’s sales. WhiteWave, Horizon Organic’s parent company, is diversifying and generating great profits for its shareholders. The number of organically certified operations has increased according to the USDA. All is seemingly good with organics as the market increases and more profits are made. But where does that leave the producers, especially those that deal in commodities rather than direct marketing, and that have made a strong commitment in time, money and passion to organic certification? What is the organic community’s responsibility to safeguard the future income for those producers? Politically the USDA NOP is changing the transparency of its processes and allowing undue influence by manufacturers and processors in deciding what synthetics are allowed in organic products resulting in the integrity of organics getting more diluted. Manufacturers are importing more organic raw materials at cheaper prices than can be produced in the US, which undermines small to mid-size organic operations that do not have economies of scale. With the increased lack of transparency, less stakeholder involvement, and less perceived integrity, consumers will stop valuing organic and will start purchasing more “natural”, “non-GMO” “sustainable” and “green” products. This will affect the commodity market the greatest, with organic dairy being hit the hardest in a confused market where vegetable juice can be called milk and can be sold in the dairy section of supermarkets and organic milk can be sold at close to the same retail price of non-organic.
In organic dairy we have processors clinging to outdated methods of paying producers, relying on regional payments that do not relate to input costs, and substituting MAP and seasonal payments instead of increases in the base price. Western producers are suffering terribly from the drought and the high price of feed with some major producers diversifying out of organic dairy. It’s time for the processors to move away from regional payments and increase the pay price for western producers to match their input costs. There is plenty of evidence of the need and if the processors are truly supporting the future of organic production rather than their own growth as companies or their future as salaried employees, then they need to recognize the needs of their member owners and their suppliers. With CROPP importing vegetables and beef manufacturing trim (this is what makes up the pink slim in non-organic meat), perhaps they are not paying close enough attention to their core member owners interests.
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service again shows an increase in sales of organic fluid milk in January 2014 of 13.5% over January 2013 with organic whole milk sales increasing at the same rate as non-fat milk. With butter now in a revival, there is an increase in demand for organic butter and supplies are tightening. With a delay in the Spring flush of milk because of the long winter and extreme weather, manufacturers are reportedly facing shortages and lack of supply of butter and considering trucking product from further away.
For more details on the price of feed and retail sales and pricing please go to:
Preventing & Treating Lameness in Cows
Lameness in cows is expensive and needs to be prevented as much as possible particularly for organic dairy cows that are required to walk to pasture for their feed. Dr. Hue Karreman has written a timely article that looks at the nutritional and environmental factors affecting hoof health and the practical treatment of hoof problems. Hue’s conclusion is that “while problems are generally minimal on organic farms, lameness and its effect on efficient grazing really must be prevented. By proper nutrition and environmental improvements, your cows should be able to move freely and easily as they graze contentedly.” Read more of Hue’s advice with graphic pictures at:
Magnesium for Dairy Pastures
The role of magnesium in crops, even pasture and forages, is generally underestimated according to soil and plant testing performed throughout the U.S and other parts of the world. For those that test for Magnesium in forage they will see a confirmation of such a deficiency but the solution is not as simple as just adding Magnesium to the soil; in fact that may not solve the problem. Neal Kinsey of Kinsey Ag Services explains in detail how to analyze the problem (“be sure that the soil tests being utilized are capable of accurately determining true Magnesium needs in order to secure the correct material to sufficiently provide for any needed corrections or changes”) and consider different solutions. To read the complete article by Neal Kinsey please go to:You're Invited to NOC's pre-NOSB Meeting
NOC Pre-NOSB Meeting: April 28, 2014 9am-5:30pm
St. Anthony Hotel
300 East Travis St, San Antonio, TX
Please RSVP to:
-- Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director
NODPA NEWS & NOTES
Recent ODairy Discussions
Every other month, Liz Bawden, organic dairy farmer and the NODPA President, has the almost impossible task of summarizing the conversations that take place on NODPA’s very active list serve. She is able to capture both the detail of the practical questions that are asked and the peer mentoring culture of organic farmers and their very professional service providers. Farmers are able to provide practical implementation measures to solve problems and veterinarians are able to provide a wider context for causes and solutions to many herd health problems. When it comes to dairy politics, there will never be total agreement between farmers but commentators on ODairy have developed a respectful and civil discourse that takes into account the many different factors that need to be considered in arriving at decisions. Passion for organic, for transparency and fairness for all on the supply side of organic dairy is always evident in those that post on ODairy and most (but not all) are succinct and to the point.
To join the list serve please go to: /list_serv.shtml and for Liz’s article please go to:
SAVE THE DATE: NODPA 2014 Field Days
The 14th Annual NODPA Field Days will be on Thursday and Friday September 25 & 26, 2014 at Stonewall Farm, in Keene, New Hampshire. Stonewall Farm is centrally located in Southwest New Hampshire, not far from Brattleboro, VT and Keene, NH. The farm is an educational farm that has an organic dairy, micro-milk processing facility, on-site hydroponic barley fodder operation, cheese and yogurt making capacity, farm store, CSA, and educational programing, and they are experimenting with growing canola for biodiesel as well as creating a small grains cooperative where they share combine harvesting equipment.
For more details and to reserve limited trade show space, please contact NODPA Event Coordinator, Nora Owens:
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