FEATURE FARM: In this interview with Kathie Arnold, we highlight the pasture portion of Twin Oaks Dairy as well as Kathie’s tireless efforts in making sure that the USDA NOP gave us what we were asking for: a level playing field, true use of pasture as a significant portion of the ruminant diet, and measurable standards that all certified farms – both large and small – must adhere to.
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Let them Eat Grass
The Pasture Rule is published and the first USDA NOP Pasture Rule Training, covering requirements and resources, was a success. There are other trainings scheduled for different parts of the country, which will be open for certifiers, inspectors, producers and resource professionals.
For some certifiers the new regulations will be business as usual but there are others that will have to learn new skills, develop new record keeping forms for their OSP, and their inspectors will be required to be more proficient in understanding livestock farming, rather than working from a checklist. Producers have universally welcomed the new regulations in the knowledge that it will add to their paperwork burden but provide more security for their future. Organic dairy producers are already used to a heavy paperwork burden on top of the myriad of qualifications and skills they require to farm successfully. For some producers, there might be a challenge in calculating dry matter but they will approach that with the same stubborn determination that has kept them in business. Some regulators and certifiers underestimate the skills, knowledge and adaptability of organic dairy producers but these are folks whose daily tasks range from dealing with bank managers to shoveling manure to caring for livestock to completing their certification forms. Any extra tasks that the new regulations will require will become just another part of a producers farming routine.
NODPA is committed to providing assistance wherever possible. Our “Let Them Eat Grass” web page is an active webpage where we will continue to compile resources that can assist with understanding and complying with the new regulations. We are also partnering with many different organizations to direct grant money to in-person assistance for those not proficient in using web based information. The two major processors are also committed to providing educational materials and assistance wherever possible.
What’s next? A clear ruling on one standard for organic dairy replacements, an in-depth discussion around animal welfare and a prolonged campaign to ensure that organic feed is not adversely affected by GMO alfalfa which will directly affect the integrity of the organic seal. Of course we need an answer to supply management and a fair pay-price that gives the producer a reasonable share of the retail dollar.
Should keep us busy!!
Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director
New NOP Pasture Regulation Meets Expectations of Organic Community
Harriet Behar answers key questions about the Pasture Rule.
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Pasture Rule Draws Bright Line Benefiting Cows & Consumers
Sam Fromartz reflects on why the fight for the Pasture Rule was so contentious, and what we've gained by passing it. MORE >
WEBINAR BY eORGANIC
A Look at the Newly Released Organic Pasture Rule. Join us for a Webinar on March 17, 5:00 PM to 6:15 PM EDT. MORE >
Pasture Rule Training Highlights
On February 25, 2010, the NOP held its first of what will be four trainings on the new Pasture Rule. Learn more about what took place.
Homeopathy: The Mechanics and Its
Application for the Dairy Farm, Part 2
The nuts and bolts of actually administering homeopathy remedies. MORE >
Online Resources for Dairy Producers
Five great resources, from grazing videos to veterinary workshop recordings. MORE >
February 12, 2010
Final Access to Pasture Rule is announced by USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan
February 17, 2010
Final Rule published on the Federal register
June 16, 2010
Final rule is effective. All new operations certified on or after June 17 are required to have an Organic Systems Plan (OSP) that shows how they can meet the new regulations. Operations that are already certified have an implementation period of 1 year.
June 17, 2011
All organically certified dairy operations are required to have OSP’s that show how they will meet the new regulations and their operation will need to be in compliance.
Grain Price Updates
The latest corn and soybean prices, and grain price trends over the past four years.
Pay Price Update
Pay price & the organic market in March 2010.
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