Grain to grass to organic dairy
– a farm with a history and a future:
For those of us that have had the pleasure to meet Perry, the story of this family farm is no surprise. His work over the years is an inspiration and a model of what can be achieved when there is the right mindset. If anybody has questions about what can be achieved they should read about Perry’s success. MORE >
NODPA’s 10th Annual Field Days: A Wrap Up
NODPA’s Annual Field Days and Producers’ Meeting took place at the height of the autumn color on October 7th and 8th in Unity, Maine at the wonderful Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s (MOFGA) Common Ground Fairground and Education Center. We could not have chosen a better venue or a more helpful and welcoming host. Read all that’s fit to print about what happened (unfortunately there are some things we can’t print – you will have to come to the next Field Days for those!) MORE >
Everything you asked for, and then some
The Pasture Rule was unveiled just before Valentine’s Day last February, offering many of us ‘everything we asked for’. The consequence of getting what we asked for is that now we have some added record keeping to do, and producers and certifiers alike need to get used to it. Parry Clutts has no doubt about his feelings when he says “I think it’s a good rule. Good for the cows in that they are able to express their natural grazing behavior! And good for the consumer in that they are getting milk that is fed at least 30% of their diet from pasture during the grazing season.” Find out more >
Supply and Demand:
Milk Price & Feed Price Trends
As with the weather, wait a while and the milk-demand pendulum will swing. As the non-organic dairy industry starts to go again into free-fall with projected MILC payments for February 2011, retail sales for organic fluid milk increased higher than projected. Industry projections for 2011 are for a 15% increase in organic milk sales for 2011 and processors are actively recruiting producers either by encouraging transition from non-organic, producers increasing production or by producers changing processors. Total organic milk products sales for August 2010 are the highest since December 2008. The retail price has remained steady averaging $3.70/ half gallon, with a country-wide range of $1.65/half gallon, the lowest being in Colorado and highest in Minnesota. The retail price gap between conventional and organic narrowed again by 2¢ to $2.06. More details on milk prices coming in January.
With the price of feed rising and producers being cautious about expanding after being forced to contract supply, we are headed for a shortage in supply for 2011.
The price for organic corn is now within cents of the non-organic bushel price. Conventional soybean meal on 11/11/10 was priced $356 / ton, up 18% from August $301; soybeans was at $13.23/bushel, up 31% from August $10.09; and corn was at $5.70/bushel, up 35% from August $4.21. With organic corn and soybeans, the increase has been about half that of conventional corn but very close to the conventional price with soybeans, although very little is being traded as those that haven’t forward contracted are holding back to assess where prices will go. Organic soybean meal was priced at $780 /ton on 11/11/10, up 4% from August; soybeans were at $16.25/bushel, lower than August by $.30/bushel; and corn was at $5.92/bushel, up 15% from August 2010.
National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Meeting Highlights
Lisa McCrory attended the NOSB meeting on behalf of NODPA and was able to present comments on behalf of NODPA and all organic dairy producers. Now that NOP has the financing and staff to publish more information and there is increased opportunity to read about the details of these meetings, Lisa highlights some of the issues that the NOSB faces and where she sees the priorities for the future. Read Lisa’s commentary >
University of Minnesota West Central
Research and Outreach Center-Morris
The University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center at Morris was certified organic in June 2010, and they have over 350 acres of certified organic pastures for both heifers and cows. Currently, the organic herd has 86 milking cows and 64 replacement heifers. A majority of the herd calves in the spring, with about 20 heifers and cows calving in the fall.,Assistant Professor of Organic Dairy Production Systems at the University of Minnesota’s WCROC, Brad Heins, sums up his philosophy and approach at WCROC “ Of course, any applied dairy research program should focus on specific questions dairy producers would like answered to improve the profitability of their own organic dairy.” Read more >
Irish Research Finds Norwegian Red x Holsteins and Jersey X Holsteins Most Profitable Dairy Cows
We all have our preference for individual dairy breeds and what we can achieve through cross-breeding; how each pure-bred or cross might behave on individual farms and the challenge of finding the best genetics for a grazing herd. While the grass season for Ireland is a little longer than for the northern United States and Canada, the results of this well designed research may be directly applicable to the grazing operations of North America. Whether you agree that Norwegian Red crosses on Holsteins, New Zealand Friesians, Jerseys or crosses of Jerseys and Holsteins or Holstein-Friesians will be more profitable that any purebreds, this research lays out some interesting facts. Pour a glass of Guinness and appreciate the beauty of Ireland: MORE >
Research and Education Grant Opportunities:
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Food Distribution is now accepting applications for the Direct Farm Sales Grant Program project year 2011. The Program provides funds to Pennsylvania-based businesses that manage or operate a farm stand or farmers' markets, non-profit organizations, farmers and local governments for projects intended to promote new or existing farmers' markets.
Business owners can now apply for their share of $2 million in low-interest loans funded by the Ohio Department of Agriculture through a newly created Agriculture Revolving Loan Fund. The Agriculture Revolving Loan Fund will make loans available for the creation and expansion of businesses and industries that support agriculture and rural Ohio.
Are you a farmer with a new idea you would like to test using a field trial, on-farm demonstration, or other technique? Funding is available to support your on-farm research via a Farmer Grant from Northeast SARE(Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education). A technical advisor--often an extension agent, crop consultant, or other service professional--is required as a project participant. Projects should seek results other farmers can use, and all projects must have the potential to add to our knowledge about effective sustainable practices.
For more information on these grants, click here.
This is the time of year when folks look at gifts and giving, starting with family and friends. We would also like you to consider a donation to NODPA on top of your subscription, membership, advertising or sponsorship money. We run a ‘lean and mean’ organization at NODPA and all monies raised are used for programs, advocating for producers and as an informational resource for producers, media, organizations and consumers.
We have a very diverse income stream at NODPA and operate on the same margins that our members do, with the same cash flow at times. We thank the many of you that reply quickly when renewing subscriptions and business membership, plus those that choose to participate at the higher level of the check-off (very painless as the money comes to NODPA rather than faceless marketing campaigns). We thank our advertisers, especially those that pre-pay, for their support and we know that readers appreciate your ads. We also accept gifts of money, and for those of you that pay taxes J, our partnership with CAIA enables us to accept a gift as a tax deductable donation. Please support NODPA with your very valuable dollars so we can continue our great work moving forward. Learn how you can support NODPA today.
Francis Thicke's New Book Now Available
Drawing from his experience as a dairy farmer and soil scientist, Thicke writes broadly about how we can make food production sustainable. MORE >
OMRI Products List Exceeds 2000 Products
The OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) Products List reached a milestone on October 7, 2010, for the first time exceeding 2000 listed products. MORE >
Grain Price Update
The latest prices for organic corn and soybeans, plus spreads between eastern and midwest prices, and price trends over time. MORE >
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