Featured Farm: Faith In Grass
Peace Hollow Farm, Knoxville, MD
Myron and Janet Martin own and operate Peace Hollow Farm - a Knoxville, Maryland all-grass dairy. Myron and Janet, both in their early 50’s, farm in Pleasant Valley- a mile wide valley in Washington County, Maryland, bound by the Appalachian Trail to the east, the Potomac River to the south, and Elk Ridge to the west. The home farm is 118 acres, a V-shaped property with the buildings situated at the narrow end. This ground serves as pasture for their 80-head of milk cows. In 2007, the Martins purchased a neighboring 100-acre farm where they raise their heifers and all their bull calves. 50 acres of the heifer/steer farm is used for grazing and 50 for stored forage. They rent an additional 60 acres of hay ground. To read more about their low cost approach please go to:
Federal Mandated Organic Checkoff:
Stop the organic check off program (a Tax) by commenting on the Proposed Rule before April 19th
A federally mandated, USDA administered Research and Promotion Program (R&P) is not the right structure for raising research money to boost domestic organic production. The 1996 Act, under which the organic checkoff was made possible with the 2014 Farm Bill, was not designed as a multi-commodity checkoff to promote domestic production and research for a process based standard.
The OTA’s proposed organic checkoff now translated into a Proposed Rule by USDA is impractical, invasive, bureaucratic, inequitable, undemocratic and ineffective.
- One vote per certificate holder - Producers will have to pay a poll tax to qualify to vote on establishing an organic checkoff and then have no effective say in how the money is spent.
- The functioning of USDA checkoffs is never transparent and historically they have been badly managed.
- Those that designed the method of assessment obviously had no idea about the economics of small to mid-size organic family farms.
- Walmart will not pay any assessments – their co-packers might have to, which will drive down the price paid to producers.
- USDA stretches the term ‘de minimis quantity of the commodity’ to include 76% of organically certified producers and 12% of the dollar value of organic production.
- For those organic producers and handlers that are part of a conventional checkoff, they will have no choice as to paying into a checkoff because they will lose the exemption from all checkoffs once an organic checkoff is approved.
SUBMIT COMMENTS TO USDA TODAY TO STOP THE CHECKOFF. THE DEADLINE IS APRIL 19
For analysis on the organic checkoff, please go to:
For more on the organic checkoff:
Is there a future in Organic Dairy?
There are many different reasons why producers enter organic dairy and each farm family has different priorities within their mission statement and family goals. A high priority for every producer is economic sustainability. A sustainable pay price is needed to keep all committed farm families in business and although not a ‘birth right,’ producers should have a ‘living wage’ just as other working folks have a minimum wage or are fairly compensated for their labor and capital investment. If that doesn’t happen we will have the same situation that exists in the conventional market, relying on larger operations that have the economies of scale and financial resources to sustain themselves with all the peaks and troughs of the market. While we are currently in one of those troughs for pay price and organic milk utilization created by oversupply, we need to look at historical data to analyze the potential for the future. The great long team work that Bob Parsons and his colleagues, including Lisa McCrory, have done over the last decade serves us well for managing our future better. Bob has created years of data that show the relationship between management and profitability, highlighting the higher costs of organic production that require higher pay prices (not premiums) to remain sustainable with a reasonable lifestyle.
To read in more detail Bob’s summary and analyses of the data please go to:
Organic Dairy Farm Profitability in 2015
Difficult Respiratory Cases in the
Bovine and their Treatment with Western Herbal Medicines
By Cynthia J. Lankenau, DVM
“Herbal medicines provide such a multi-pronged approach to disease that in these difficult to treat diseases, herbal medicine shines as the therapeutic modality.
Bovine Respiratory diseases initially presents as an acute viral invasion. Energetically this can present as invading ‘Cold’ pathogen that creates severe stagnation. If the animal has an underlying immune deficiency, a stressed animal from shipping or a calf with minimal colostrum, this can rapidly develop into significant phlegm, and more stagnation with then secondary heat; (translated as an initial viral infection, leading to a bacterial infection).”
To read all of Dr. Lankenau’s article, please go to: