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Holterholm Farm, Adam and Ron Holter


2018 NODPA Field Days: September 27 & 28, 2018

Yarrowsburg Mennonite Church
2142 Rohrersville Rd, Knoxville, MD 21758

Added June 20, 2018.

The 18th Annual NODPA Field Days comes at a time when organic dairy farmers are struggling, so this year’s educational program takes on these realities by offering practical, low-cost or no-cost solutions that can help our farms emerge intact from the current industry crisis while remaining true to the integrity of the organic seal. Some of the informational workshops we are developing will provide farmers with the tools to assess their operations in order to maximize net income; rethink management practices to increase efficiency; and even lay out all the options available to farm families as they consider their future within the current realities of the organic dairy industry. We also tackle the very important issues facing the organic dairy industry: preserving the integrity of the organic seal; understanding all of the Organic Plus Labels/Add-on Certification Programs that are emerging; and staying informed about the happenings at the USDA and this year’s Farm Bill. Our keynote speaker, Mark Kastel will give a very timely presentation on the crisis in organic dairy (see a description, below).

Myron and Janet Martin’s Peace Hollow Farm

For the first time in NODPA’s history, the NODPA Field Days will be held in Maryland on September 27th and 28th in Knoxville, Maryland. We are fortunate to have 2 farm tours. Peace Hollow Farm owned and operated by Myron and Janet Martin, Knoxville, MD will be our Thursday morning tour, and we will visit Holterholm Farms, Jefferson, MD, owned and operated by Ron and Adam Holter, on Friday afternoon.

For those who might not be familiar with our keynote speaker Mark Kastel, he is the co-founder of The Cornucopia Institute, a populist farm policy research group based in Wisconsin and director of its Organic Integrity Project. For the past nine years, he has acted as Co-director and Senior Farm Policy Analyst. Mark’s professional experience includes political consulting and lobbying on behalf of family farm groups and business development work benefitting family-scale farmers. We are fortunate to have the following preview of his keynote presentation:

The Crisis in the Organic Dairy Movement: History, Analysis, and What Farmers Can Do to Balance the Playing Field

The organic food movement was founded upon the respect consumers had for farmers and ranchers willing to subscribe to a different, more ethical management model in terms of environmental stewardship and humane animal husbandry. The industry’s original processing, marketing and retail entrepreneurs understood this covenant.

Now that the majority of brands in the organic marketplace are controlled by large multinational corporations organic farmers have become just as expendable as in the conventional marketplace.


Kastel’s talk will be part history lesson, as he has been involved in the organic dairy movement since its scaling up commercially in the late 1980s. His economic analysis will include not only how we got to where we are but why.

In the second half of his talk he will shift gears, and enter into a dialogue with the cumulative knowledge of organic dairy producers present, in exploring optional action plans where consumers can influence policy at the cooperatives they own or partner with their proprietary milk buyers/marketing partners.

After 15 years of efforts by The Cornucopia Institute and NODPA to influence policy at the USDA, protecting as Congress had intended the interests of consumers and ethical industry participants, it is obvious that producers now need to directly influence purchasing decisions made by consumers and the retailers they patronize. The buyers of organic products are going to have the last say.

The 18th Annual NODPA Field Days program will be filled with information sessions, discussions and educational workshops that focus on the important and timely issues facing all organic dairy farm families. In addition, we will have a full trade show, our annual social hour and banquet featuring delicious local and organic food, and NODPA’s Annual Meeting on Thursday evening. Our Producer-Only meeting takes place bright and early Friday morning, and will follow a continental breakfast.

Meeting attendees will be able to visit the diverse trade show throughout the meeting, and will have many opportunities to meet new people and catch up with old friends. More information on the program will follow in the July NODPA News and online at, so for now SAVE THE DATE and begin planning to join us in September. Look for Sponsorship and Trade Show information and opportunities in your email and mailboxes in the next couple of weeks.
For more information or if you have questions about sponsoring or exhibiting at the 18th Annual NODPA Field Days, contact NODPA Field Days coordinator Nora Owens any time at or 413-772-0444.