Federal Mandated Checkoff:
No more procrastinating –
we need your comment now
Stop the organic check off program (a Tax) by commenting on the Proposed Rule before April 19th
The OTA’s proposed organic checkoff now translated into a Proposed Rule by USDA is impractical, invasive, bureaucratic, inequitable, undemocratic and ineffective. Comment now to stop the process and the historic division of the organic community. OTA must withdraw their divisive proposal now so we can all work together to protect and grow organic in these tough political times.
The following bulleted points highlight the problems with this rule and can be used in your comments:
- Tell USDA you will vote against the checkoff if there is a referendum.
- One vote per certificate holder - Producers will have to pay a poll tax to qualify to vote – assess all certificate holders to give everyone a vote.
- You have no confidence in the management, transparency and effectiveness of checkoff programs - putting the word “Organic” in the title of the program does not change the historic and well documented restrictive guidelines, heavy bureaucracy, and lack of accountability and cost of administration of these programs.
- I think organic is the gold standard and want to say that – the checkoff will not be allowed to say it for me.
- The method of assessment does not reflect the economics of organic family farms – the definition of organic inputs do not reflect organic production methods, which are based on feeding the soil and building the nutrient value of the soil to increase yield and profitability, not buying inputs.
- The payment of assessment will not be equal and fair across the organic supply chain - Walmart will not pay any assessments – their co-packers will have to, which will drive down the price paid to producers as retailers have more leverage over price in the market.
- USDA use of the term ‘de minimis quantity of the commodity’ to exclude 76% of organically certified producers and 12% of the dollar value of organic production is unacceptable.
- I support the continuation of the exemption for organic producers and handlers that are part of a conventional checkoff – establishing an organic checkoff will end that exemption – I trust organic certificate holders to invest their own money in programs to promote agricultural research and a fair pay price for producers and handlers that will increase acreage under organic production.
SUBMIT COMMENTS TO USDA TODAY TO STOP THE CHECKOFF - THE DEADLINE IS APRIL 19
Submit Online: http://bit.ly/organicTAX (link to Federal comment site)
Promotion & Economics Div., Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Rm 1406-S, Stop 0244, Washington, D.C. 20250-0244
Fax comments: (202) 205-2800
For analysis on the organic checkoff, please go to:
For ideas on raising money for organic research, please go to:
Alternatives to a Check-off for generating research dollars 2017.pdf
Liana Hoodes blog on the organic checkoff:
Liana Hoodes checkoff Blog.pdf
For more on the organic checkoff:
Danone acquisition of WhiteWave
moves forward without Stonyfield
NODPA News, January 2017:
“If Danone is required to sell off their subsidiary, Stonyfield Yogurt and retail milk brands, to satisfy the Justice Department approval of their acquisition of WhiteWave, Organic Valley Fresh or some similar CROPP joint venture would be ideally positioned to purchase the brand. This would expand their retail presence and their product mix while securing a market for their producers, particularly those in New England and the Northeast.”
From the DOJ Press release, 4/3/2017:
“The Department of Justice announced today that it will require Danone S.A. to divest Danone’s Stonyfield Farms business in order for Danone to proceed with its $12.5 billion acquisition of The WhiteWave Foods Company Inc. “The proposed acquisition would have blunted competition between the top two purchasers of raw organic milk in the Northeast and the producers of the three leading brands of organic milk in the United States,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Today’s proposed settlement will ensure competitive marketplaces for both farmers in the northeast that sell raw organic milk and consumers who purchase fluid organic milk in stores nationwide.”
In the NODPA News November 2016 issue, we did an in depth study and analysis of the proposed acquisition by Danone of White Wave. (in_danone-white-wave-111516.shtml) In that article and in conversations with the Department of Justice, industry leaders, investor groups and producers we laid out the problem and possible solutions to the reduction of competition between the two leading buyers and top brands in the markets for raw and fluid organic milk, potentially harming dairy farmers in the Northeast and U.S. consumers of fluid organic milk. Working with the Cornucopia Institute and others, the case was made on the effect of the acquisition resulting in a landmark decision about the effect on producers and consumers of the consolidation of the organic industry.
In looking at the buyers for Stonyfield, Dean’s name has obviously been mentioned as has Uniliver (Ben & Jerry’s), General Mills, Aurora Dairy Group, Chobani and PepsiCo as it is a valuable entry point into organic dairy with an established market and a dedicated supply.
Any prospective buyer will need to identify what supply agreements they intend to enter into once they own Stonyfield. The supply agreement with CROPP has approximately three years to run and the assumption is that any buyer will continue to honor that agreement. In the best possible case, in the future Stonyfield will expand its own pool of milk and increase the number of buyers in the Northeast to three rather than the two, which will be the best interpretation of the DOJ’s ruling. Stonyfield also has the option of working with other smaller buyers and Dairy Marketing Services to source their long term supply. A second option will be to continue with CROPP as their main supplier and maintain the status–quo for the foreseeable future. Whatever way it goes, the DOJ ruling is a good solution for organic dairy producers as it is an opportunity to expand competition for organic farmgate milk and deprive Danone/WhiteWave from any intimidation of CROPP by holding supply contracts as leverage for their cooperation on the supply side and in the organic consumer market.
For the full DOJ press release please go to:
Dairy Succession Efforts
get Boost from Grant
Help is available for dairy farmers! With support from the Keep Local Farms Fund of the New England Dairy Promotion Board, Land For Good is offering farm transfer planning and succession advising to commercial, cow milk dairy farms at reduced or no cost, for a limited time. Land For Good is a nonprofit organization providing land access, tenure, and transfer services throughout New England. We maintain a network of state-based Field Agents who work with farmers through a customized, personalized, team-based approach to farm succession and transfer planning. We can:
- Provide information and resources to get started
- Find appropriate advisors and coordinate your team
- Help you navigate your farm transfer planning process.
For more information, visit our website at www.landforgood.org, contact us at email@example.com, or call 603-357-1600.
Recent Odairy Discussions
By Liz Baldwin – NODPA President
A producer asked the group for suggestions to control lice in his herd. Several farmers suggested feeding Agri-Dynamics’ “Flies Be Gone’. Other recommendations included Crystal Creek’s No-Fly, Ectophyte, Sulphur powder, powdered tobacco, and PyGanic. It should be noted that there was some confusion over whether PyGanic is still allowed for use on livestock; different certifiers may have different interpretations. So check with your certifier. One person on the list quoted a NYS IPM Guide for Organic Dairies stating, “PyGanic is the most effective OMRI-approved pesticide available for use against lice in organic production.” In all the external treatments, producers were reminded that there must be a second treatment, 10 to 14 days after the first, to kill the newly hatched lice. For more excerpts from the ODairy listserve please go to:
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