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NODPA E-NEWSLETTER | November 18, 2013


Organic Dairy Farming for Quality of Life

“When our oldest son was born we were living on a farm that was conventionally managed. At eight months old he was diagnosed with cancer. While no actual reason was ever given for him getting cancer we always questioned whether the fact that the well for the farm, which was in the middle of a cornfield, had something to do with it. This along with many other life observations, have led to organic farming.” This is how Doug Morse describes his family’s decision to farm organically. The Morse family own 496 acres of which 120 is tillable, 100 is permanent pasture, and most of the remainder is woods. They rent a little over 200 acres pasture our heifers on 50 acres of rented land. For more of their story in their own words, please go to:
ff_november_2013.shtml

The War of Words in the fight for organic integrity and less synthetics in organics

On September 16th the National Organic Program (NOP) issued a Federal register notice changing the process that is used to decide whether prohibited substances can continue to be used in organic production (the Sunset process). This change took effect immediately on September 17th with no allowance for public comment about the change in policy.
The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) provides for Sunset Review under SEC. 2118 U.S.C. 6517 NATIONAL LIST. (e) SUNSET PROVISION.- “No exemption or prohibition contained in the National List shall be valid unless the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)  has reviewed such exemption or prohibition as provided in this section within 5 years of such exemption or prohibition being adopted or reviewed and the Secretary has renewed such exemption or prohibition.” It clearly states that no exemption or prohibition contained in the National List of products allowed in organic production shall be valid unless the National Organic Standards Board has reviewed and renewed the exemptions or prohibitions. From 2005 to the present the NOP policy indicated that the NOSB needed to act to keep synthetics on the National List at the time of their Sunset; without action by the NOSB, those exemptions and prohibitions would expire. The new policy adopted by the NOP effectively allows a material to be reviewed by the NOSB and its sub-committees at the time of sunset. The substance would remain on the list unless there is a two-thirds majority to remove it. This significantly lowers the bar for removing synthetics from organic.

This decision by NOP provoked protests from producers, consumers and environmentalists but found support from some industry representatives, most notably the new President of the Organic Trade Association and VP Policy and Industry Relations United Natural Foods (UNFI), Melody Meyer.
The NOP has explained that they face many administrative hurdles in rulemaking and that this change will enable them to move the process forward more quickly. Many producer, environmental and consumer groups fear that this will again weaken the power of the NOSB and turn it into just another USDA advisory committee doing the bidding of the department. Some fear that is part of the slow decline of the organic standards in the pursuit of more sales and that organic will soon be just another label lacking integrity with sales of product supported by purchase of imported raw materials. Most worrying is the method that the NOP adopted to make these changes. There was no consultation with all constituency groups either formally or informally which breaks the long tradition that has prevailed since the 1990’s. Consumer groups have felt marginalized and its no secret who buys our organic products (consumers) and who they rely on to inform and educate them about their integrity (consumer groups). Maintaining the integrity of the organic seal is especially important for groups like dairy that rely on bulk sales in a highly competitive market. In order to work together, all groups need to be involved at the beginning of the process, not informed of the result and told to get on board.

For the National Organic Coalition’s take on the issue: http://www.nationalorganiccoalition.org/

For the opinions of consumer and environmental groups (Joint Statement of Consumers Union, Food and Water Watch, Beyond Pesticides and Center for Food Safety), a Blog post by Melody Meyer,  (Stop the Lies and get behind your National Organic Program), followed by a letter by Jim Riddle, past Chair of the NOSB and one of the leaders of the organic community, please go to:
in_war-of-words-111213.shtml

NODPA launches its First Fundraising Campaign: “GOT MONEY – NODPA NEEDS SOME OF IT”

Do you want to support balance in organic decision-making by ensuring that producers have a voice? NODPA provides that with its bimonthly print newsletter; it’s ODairy Listserv; it’s annual Field Days; its comprehensive and regularly updated website and its membership of the National Organic Coalition, National Sustainable Agricultural Coalition and Organic Trade Association. NODPA takes producer concerns to Washington, to industry, to the media and to consumers and environmental groups and, as an independent organization; it acts as a voice for all producers in a marketplace dominated by industry.
We keep costs to a minimum but there are still bills to pay. NODPA has launched its first fundraising campaign, and we ask you to send in your donation today to support all of these resources and services that we all need and value. 

“NODPA supporters are dedicated organic farmers and industry professionals; hard-working, committed to the principles of organic farming and focused on operating their businesses in the most efficient and informed way possible,” said organic dairy producer and NODPA Board President Liz Bawden, “We work long hours and have come to expect reliable information delivered in the most convenient manner possible, and NODPA delivers.”

You can donate online at
http://www.nodpa.com/donate.shtml

Please contact Nora Owens at noraowens@comcast.net or call 413-772-0444 if you have questions or need assistance. Thank you for your support!

2013 NODPA Field Days

The 2013 NODPA Field Days was a great success with perfect weather, fantastic speakers, an exceptional keynote address, informative workshops, lots of exhibitors, and delicious food prepared and served by the women of the Mansfield Hose Company Banquet Hall.

The producer meeting provided some fresh ideas and direction for NODPA in the coming year, and the Keynote address, by organic dairy farmer, Kevin Engelbert, gave a sobering look at where the organic milk market is heading. His frank and truthful appraisal of the industry only made the ideas discussed at the producer meeting more appropriate and necessary as next action steps. For more on the Field Days and many, many pictures, please go to
in_fielddays_summary_111213.shtml

Our friend and Maine organic dairy farmer Ralph Caldwell drastic and dramatic loss

Ralph or Raz Caldwell and his family suffered a loss of two of his barns and some equipment on September 29,2013 when fire broke out at the Caldwell Family Farm. Due to the lack of fire hydrants at the rural location, tankers supplied water to the scene and trucks were used to pump water from a small pond down the road. Friends, family and neighbors helped move all the 130 animals out of the barns so that none were lost. The barn itself was built in 1959.

To contribute to the fund for the Caldwell family please send donations to: Maine Organic Milk Producers, c/o Mary Castonguay, 39 Richmond Hill Road, Livermore, ME 04253. Please make donations payable to Maine Organic Milk Producers. For more information:
in_caldwell_fire_fundraiser_111213.shtml

Feed and Pay Price Updates

USDA Agricultural Marketing  Services (AMS) reports that total fluid sale for organic milk was up again for September 2013; 192 million pounds, which is 10.4% higher than September last year and 5.3% higher than 2012 year to date, with whole milk showing the biggest increase. Organic half gallons retail price is averaging 40 cents lower than 2012 at $3.48.

USDA AMS reported national organic grain and feedstuff prices were holding steady as the harvest season for corn and soybeans comes to an end. Demand for feed grade corn and soybeans remains good as the industry waits to see what yields are nationally with initial yields being higher than expected. Corn for June thru August delivery is being priced at $11 per bushel; about $4 per bushel lower than last year. There are variable reports across the country as to supply and price of organic feed, plus which feed mills contracted ahead and at what prices.

For more details on pay price and retail sales please go to:

payprice_update_11182013.shtml

For an update of Feed prices please go to:

feed_prices_11-18-13.shtml

 

-- Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director  

NODPA NEWS & NOTES

Feed and Pay Price Updates

USDA Agricultural Marketing  Services (AMS) reports that total fluid sale for organic milk was up again for September 2013; 192 million pounds, which is 10.4% higher than September last year and 5.3% higher than 2012 year to date, with whole milk showing the biggest increase. Organic half gallons retail price is averaging 40 cents lower than 2012 at $3.48.

USDA AMS reported national organic grain and feedstuff prices were holding steady as the harvest season for corn and soybeans comes to an end. Demand for feed grade corn and soybeans remains good as the industry waits to see what yields are nationally with initial yields being higher than expected. Corn for June thru August delivery is being priced at $11 per bushel; about $4 per bushel lower than last year. There are variable reports across the country as to supply and price of organic feed, plus which feed mills contracted ahead and at what prices.

For more details on pay price and retail sales please go to:

payprice_update
_11182013.shtml

For an update of Feed prices please go to:

feed_prices_11-18-13.shtml

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