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NODPA E-NEWSLETTER | January 20, 2012

Featured Farm: Jerry Dell Farm, NY

Jerry Dell Farm, certified by NOFA NY, milks 500 cows on two farms, and manages 2000 acres of pasture, hay and crop land in Dryden, NY with a recently acquired second farm in Freeville, NY – just 4 miles away. Owned and operated as a family farm by Vaughn and Sue Sherman, sons Jeremy & Ryan, and nephews Troy & Kenny. Jerry Dell Farm has been certified organic since 2000; they are currently shipping to Organic Valley, but will be switching to Upstate Niagara starting in May, 2012. To learn more about this organic family farm please go to http://www.nodpa.com/ff_january_2012.shtml.

Fair Share of the Retail Dollar
for Organic Dairy Family Farms

Who decides how much organic dairy farmers get paid for their milk? Do they get paid on how much it costs to produce it? Do they get paid based on what the consumers pays or on the demand for their product? How do we keep hardworking organic farmers and their families on the land?

The answers are: There are only 2 national buyers of organic milk who effectively set the pay price for farmers. Smaller cooperatives or companies have to compete for milk based on those prices. For Organic Valley, a cooperative farmer Board advised by management sets the pay price for the whole company. For Horizon Organic the pay price is set by company executives and negotiated individually with each farmer. The amount is not based on an average cost of producing the milk, the retail price or on the demand for the product.

One way to support organic dairy family farms is to ensure they get paid enough to cover the cost of producing the milk, the overhead costs associated with organic production and enough to have a reasonable family wage. Currently over 2/3 of organic dairy farms nationwide are not receiving that amount.

It will surprise many that, on average, the retailer will get the same dollar amount from the sale of a ½ gallon of organic milk as the farmer does. The processor will get slightly more, depending on whether the milk is a store brand product or a branded product. The processors are profitable as they are fighting for shelf space and reinvesting in their business infrastructure. The retailers, at an average retail price of $3.75 per ½ gallon, are obviously not using organic milk as a loss leader and mark up the price they pay for the product by 30-40%. A seven year study by the University of Vermont shows organic dairy farmers have been losing equity and profitability since 2006, with 2011 promising to be the worst of those years because of rapidly increasing feed and other inputs (fuel, fees, taxes, insurance). For more on this study,
click here.

If you believe that Organic Dairy Farm Families need a fair share of the retail dollar please go to:

http://signon.org/sign/save-organic-dairy-farm?source=c.em.mt&r_by=1915363

Sign up, tell your friends to sign up, ask the consumer and organizations you support to post it in their newsletters, blogs, emails and websites. It is only through grass roots action that we can send a message to all processors and retailers that consumers and farmers require a fair share of what the consumer pays for a high quality nutritionally superior product. Click here to view our news release on this issue. For more background and details on the petition, click here.

Fracking: What are your rights as a farmer?

New York State farmers or land owners who have signed gas leases but want to ensure their termination at the expiration date, must go through a step by step process as defined by NYS law. Click here for a packet of information that has been developed by a knowledgeable attorney, with instructions and template letters, both for expiring leases and to respond to force majeure letters (excuse the company from liability if some unforeseen event beyond the control of that company happens) from gas companies trying to extend the term of the lease.

Feed and Pay Price Updates

Tightening of supply of organic milk raised the lower end of retail pricing for branded product by as much as 69 cents to $3.19 per ½ gallon. The higher retail price in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Indiana remaining stable at $4.49 -4.69 per ½ gallon with a combined average for 2011 of $3.75 per ½ gallon recorded from data in over 30 US cities. In response to the increase in cost and lack of supply, the two national brands increased their pay price by $1-1-50 /cwt (4.3 -6.2 cents per ½ gallon) in August 2011 and Organic Valley plans to increase again by $2/cwt in March 2012 (8.6 cents per ½ gallon). For more on pay price and retail pricing, click on the articles below:

Organic grain and feed price remains high with no significant changes in price since November 2011. Current market price for organic dry shelled corn is between $500-525 / ton and organic raw soybeans are between $21-23/bushel ($750-821 per ton). Second cut hay is selling for around $200-250 /ton and high quality alfalfa hay at $450/ton at the farm. For more on Organic Feed price please click here >

From City to the Farm: A Financial Downfall? "It just doesn't add up."

"In 1995 when we purchased a farm in central Minnesota, it was the Ideal place to raise children. We started with farrow to finish hogs, a few milk cows, and chickens on the farm. Refusing to support large corporations by using chemicals, GMO grains, and wanting to be self-supporting and responsible to the land of which we were stewards, we began transitioning the farm to organic production. We became certified organic in 2000 and focused our attention on becoming a certified organic dairy farm. Like everyone else, to make ends meet I also worked off the farm in home construction. From 2000 until now it takes twice as many milking cows to cover the farm expenses. The cost changes in production needed to sustain a farm from 2000 to today has nearly doubled with little to no increase in milk price." What is going on? Read more >

eOrganic Dairy: A Year in Review
and What's on Tap for 2012

Over the past a couple of years, you may have heard about eOrganic. It’s an online community of more than 700 ag service providers and farmers who are providing science, experience, and regulation-based certified organic information on the web at http://www.extension.org/organic_production. The eOrganic Dairy Team is led by Drs. Heather Darby (University of Vermont Extension) and Cindy Daley (California State University—Chico). More than 60 farmers, agronomists, veterinarians, grazing and certification specialists, animal scientists, and other professionals are working together to publish peer-reviewed articles, videos, and webinars on a range of organic dairy topics. To learn more from Debra Heleba, eOrganic Dairy Team Coordinator, please go to:

nodpa.com/research_ed_eOrganic_2012_01192012.shtml

-- Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director  

NODPA NEWS & NOTES

Feed Price Updates

Organic grain and feed price remains high with no significant changes in price since November 2011. Current market price for organic dry shelled corn is between $500-525 / ton and organic raw soybeans are between $21-23/bushel. Second cut hay is selling for around $200-250 /ton and high quality alfalfa hay at $450/ton at the farm. For more on Organic Feed price please click here >

Pay Price Update

Tightening of supply of organic milk raised the lower end of retail pricing for branded product by as much as 69 cents to $3.19 per ½ gallon. The higher retail price in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Indiana remaining stable at $4.49 -4.69 per ½ gallon with a combined average for 2011 of $3.75 per ½ gallon recorded from data in over 30 US cities. In response to the increase in cost and lack of supply the two national brands increased their pay price by $1-1-50 /cwt (4.3 -6.2 cents per ½ gallon) in August 2011 and Organic Valley plans to increase again by $2/cwt in March 2012 (8.6 cents per ½ gallon). For more on pay price and retail pricing, click on the articles below:

Winter Conference Highlights

Conference season is upon us; a time to reflect on 2011, plan for 2012 and beyond, and gather with like-minded people. It is a time to read, learn, share, teach, connect with friends and make new acquaintances. If you visit our Calendar page, you will see that there are many, many conferences and workshops coming up. To find out more about winter conference highlights taking place in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Vermont in greater detail, click here.

Changing of Officers
and Board Members
at NODPA

NODPA is an organic dairy farm family member organization that is incorporated as a not-for –profit 501 (c) 5 organization. As a membership organization, NODPA By-Laws prescribe that NODPA Board and Officers are elected by their farmer peers. NODPA holds elections annually for a third of its Board members and for the four Officers of the organization. This year the elections were held on December 19th 2011 by conference call. For more information on the elections and the farmer governing body of NODPA, click here.

Join Our
ODAIRY ListServ

The ODAIRY discussion list is a great resource for producers and industry people covering topics that include current industry news, animal health, crops, grazing management, certification, action alerts, calendar events, job listing, and livestock & feed for sale. The ODAIRY discussion list consists of over 500 members . . . and growing!

If you haven't joined this list yet, we encourage you to give it a try. To Join ODAIRY, please follow these simple instructions.

Upcoming Events

Check out our comprehensive listing of upcoming conferences, workshops and other events. Click here for details.

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Support NODPA

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