Engelbert Farms is located in Nichols, NY and is owned and operated by Kevin and Lisa Engelbert and their sons Joe and John. They farm about 1800 acres of which 600 are owned, 600 are in permanent pasture and 550– 600 acres are used for growing corn, soybeans, wheat and oats. They milk about 120 cows in a closed herd with average milk production per cow at 14,000 lbs/year. The organic dairy accounts for only a portion of the products produced and marketed from the farm. Other products they grow and market include: certified organic beef, pork, veal, livestock feed, a variety of cheeses, and vegetables. On top of all that, this farm family makes a point to get off the farm and to stay involved in their local community and they are very active when it comes to agricultural issues on both a local and national scale. For the complete article on this influential and pioneering farm family please go to:
Kevin Engelbert is the key note speaker at the Pig Roast Banquet and NODPA Annual meeting at the NODPA Field Days on September 26 and 27, 2013.
Jack and Ann Lazor, Butterworks Farm, to receive Farmer Recognition Award at the NODPA Field Days
NODPA regularly recognizes the contributions of organic dairy producers and professionals at its Field Days. This year we are exceptionally pleased to honor Jack and Ann Lazor who started their farm in 1976 and are leaders, mentors and pioneers in organic agriculture. They have grown their farm over the years and also have increased the knowledge, competency and passion of other organic producers. With skills, passion, and lots of practical experience under their belts they have helped many farmers - young and old; experienced and green behind the ears – get pointed in the right direction. Jack mentors farmers on soil quality, grain production and implements, and Ann spreads her animal health wisdom, specifically the use of herbs and homeopathy to address prevention and treatment options. For more on Jack and Ann please go to:
Using Multi-Species Cover Crops
for Your Benefit
Multi-species cover cropping (a.k.a. crop cocktails) has gained a lot of attention among farmers.
Mixes of cover crops can be used to prevent soil erosion, add organic matter to the soil, improve the soil structure, recycle nutrients, and actively feed soil microbes.
On dairy farms, diverse cover crop/forage mixes can bring these benefits and also be utilized to grow nutritious, high energy forage. Dave Wilson, Research Agronomist, King’s Agriseeds says “We want help farmers gain the benefit of lush growing cover crop or forage and also understand the benefits of what’s going on underneath the soil surface. It’s all about the roots; not necessarily the growth you see above ground, but what is going on beneath.” For more examples of different cropping ideas and some great photographs please go to Dave’s article at:
On Friday afternoon at the NODPA Field Days Dave Wilson, King’s AgriSeeds, Ronks, PA; Jeff Moyer, Farm Director, Rodale Institute, Kutztown, PA; and Charlie White, Sustainable Agriculture Extension Associate, Penn State Extension, will be presenting a workshop titled: Multi Species Cover Cropping (a.k.a. Crop Cocktails).
Using Biologicals in the Organic Herd
A.J. Luft maintains that “the old cliché that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is just as good today or tomorrow as it was yesterday.” A classic example of this is the careful use of vaccines. Dr. Luft, while not a “not a big pusher of vaccines in my practice”, does consider how they can play an important role in the management of an organic livestock operation. For more examples of where vaccines might be a useful tool for producers, please go to:
Dr. A.J. will be a speaker at the NODPA Field Days on September 27th ; he and Dr. Susan Beal will be panelists on a workshop titled: ‘ODairy Live! Ask the Vet Q&A’. Send your ‘ask the vet’ questions to NODPA at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make sure they get to Susan and A.J. for their workshop.
Say YES to permanently exempting all organically certified operations from paying into federal mandatory check-off programs
Say NO to setting up an Organic Check-Off
There are a lot of things organic farmers need to know about the Organic Check-Off program which the Organic Trade Association (OTA) is very actively lobbying Congress to pass. It is critical that all organic farmers understand how this will impact them and immediately express their views on this important issue.
As individuals, you can sign this petition that says that you DO NOT support the establishment of an Organic Check-off program but you DO support a permanent exemption which would exempt all organically certified operations from paying into federal mandatory check-off programs. Please go to: https://nofa.wufoo.com/forms/online-petition-organic-checkoff-program/
As an organization, you can sign on to a letter that states your organization is opposed to the creation of an Organic Check-off Program but supports exempting all organically certified operations from paying into any of the existing check-off programs. To sign on to the letter please send an email to email@example.com with NO to an Organic Check-Off in the subject line. To read the letter please go to:
Feed and Pay Price
Organic fluid milk sales are growing steadily with some strong competition in the dairy case in the Northeast as Horizon Organic maintains the number one position in retail sales, with sales of store brand/private label in second place. While the average retail price remains fairly stable the low end of the retail price is currently $2.59 per half gallon which will be for in-store brand promotions and store brand loss leader promotions as organic milk is used to attract organic shoppers. Contracted pay price for producers hasn’t changed and with component and quality bonuses the farm-gate price is reaching the mid $30 per hundred for many producers but profitability for all but the most established organic farms is still dropping. Organic Valley has sent its member-owners notice of a 100% base quota (they will only pay full price for the base production agreed between the company and producer) with a $12.00 per cwt deduct for milk produced over that quota each month starting with October 1st 2013 production. This quota is to remain in effect until conditions improve for Organic Valley and will affect those producers who have recently expanded or those that regularly produce over their agreed base. While the cooperative leaders are optimistic that they will not have to impose an actual quota they are also facing an initiative by Stonyfield to investigate setting up their own milk pool in the Northeast. For more details and charts showing the growth of organic sales and the increase in the retail price over time please go to: LINK
Corn and Soybean prices are generally running under 2012 levels but hay and forage are higher, especially in the Midwest where the weather has followed an unpredictable roller coaster of extremes. While the contracted prices are lower there is no thought or indication that these slightly lower prices will be passed on to producers who purchase pelleted feed. In the Northeast 2012 had a summer drought that burnt up the pastures and cut the yields on field crops and hay and 2013 has seen excess rainfall causing late planting and delayed harvesting but the pastures are still growing. Corn yields in the East are generally predicted to be higher than those in Central US but concerns of an early frost and late planting makes predictions difficult. For more information please go to:
-- Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director
NODPA NEWS & NOTES
NODPA’s 13th Annual Field Days’ is just around the corner – September 26 and 27
Download the Field Day brochure at: brochure_13thannual_
final2.pdf and tell your friends and neighbors.
This year’s event takes place in North Central Pennsylvania on Thursday and Friday, September 26th and 27th at the Mansfield Hose Company Banquet Hall in Mansfield, PA.
With a program, titled Organic Dairy: Innovative Strategies to Stay Profitable, NODPA is collaborating with Holistic Management International (HMI), with a farm tour and educational sessions that will interest everyone.
As organic dairy farm families are digging ever deeper to find ways to produce organic milk more cost effectively, the Field Days program will feature current research and practical strategies that will increase cash income as well as enhance the health, productivity and profitability of their land.
The keynote speaker on Thursday evening will be Kevin Englebert, longtime organic dairy farmer and policy expert, who will give his thoughts on the future of the organic seal. Kevin‘s knowledge of organic farming and policy comes from practical farming experience and many long hours serving on the NOSB. Kevin will provide a perspective of the organic family farmer which may be different from that of the processors who are looking at a variety of future options. Organic Valley, at their annual meeting, explored the idea of increasing their international partnerships; WhiteWave is looking at a more diversified product line in their future; Gary Hirschberg and Stonyfield are looking at a more regional option and tentatively exploring how they can stimulate more organic dairies in the Northeast. It will be a very timely conversation with one of the leaders of organic dairy.
Come and participate in these important discussions, learn new ways to become more profitable, eat good food and, most of all, visit with each other.
For more details and to register go to:
Pay Price Update
Organic fluid milk sales are growing steadily with some strong competition in the dairy case in the Northeast as Horizon Organic maintains the number one position in retail sales, with sales of store brand/private label in second place. While the average retail price remains fairly stable the low end of the retail price is currently $2.59 per half gallon which will be for in-store brand promotions and store brand loss leader promotions as organic milk is used to attract organic shoppers.
For more details, click here.
Feed Price Update
Corn and Soybean prices are generally running under 2012 levels but hay and forage are higher, especially in the Midwest where the weather has followed an unpredictable roller coaster of extremes. While the contracted prices are lower there is no thought or indication that these slightly lower prices will be passed on to producers who purchase pelleted feed.
For more details, click here.
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