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NODPA E-NEWSLETTER | April 2, 2012

Highest increase in retail price for organic milk plus highest number of ads for low priced store brand milk = WHAT?

  • Organic store brand ½ gallon milk can still be purchased for $2.29, nearly $2 cheaper than branded milk not on sale which is averaging $4.01 / ½ gallon. Obviously organic milk continues to be a loss leader to attract customers to other organic products. Organic dairy processors continue to compete to supply low priced store brand milk.
  • Organic milk’s national weighted average price for half gallons promoted in advertising circulars is $2.88, comparing with $2.10 for conventional milk half gallons, a $.78 price difference. Despite many surveys, including NODPA’s own independent survey, that clearly say consumers will pay more if that money goes to farmers, processors continue to compete on price.
  • Advertising promoting organic milk ½ gallons is running at the highest level since 2009.
  • Organic milk products sales for January 2012, 193 million pounds, were up 18.3% from January 2011.
  • Across the country organic dairy farm families report that they have more debt and more over 30 days unpaid bills than they did two years ago.

Confused?  As dairy farmers look to planning out the next year and see no break in the price of feed, seed, taxes, insurance and many other inputs, the writing is clearly on the wall that this will be another tough year. One increase in pay price they can plan for is the federal subsidy for organic milk (well all milk), the Milk Income Lost Contract (MILC) which kicked in in February and will add an extra thirty nine cents per cwt in February. The National Milk Producers Federation project that MILC will pay out March 72¢; April 94¢; May $1.02; June 99¢; July 85¢; August 39¢. In 2009, MILC kept some organic dairies out of bankruptcy. It looks like it might do the same in 2012. It is no wonder that producers do not want to exit the Federal Milk Marketing Order and lose these and other benefits. It has become obvious over the last year that the organic processors are not honoring the farmers' request for a higher pay price in order to cover their costs. For more on pay price and the organic milk market please go to:

Organic dairy farmers are still suffering with ever higher corn and soybean prices and, at least in the northeast, there is so sign of any useful pasture. Future prices for corn and soybeans hold little hope for a drop in price. For more details please go to:

The Benefits Of Using Fish and Seaweed Products To Feed Your Forage Crops
Why does Fish work so well as a Fertilizer? What are the benefits of cold-processed hydrolyzed fish vs. a fish emulsion? What can farmers expect when they use hydrolyzed fish on their hay and pasture? Why does Seaweed work so well on fields and pastures? What is the cost? These are all timely questions as you plan out your year’s program or perhaps experiment with different inputs. For a concise analysis please go to:

Need increased assistance with Nutrient Management Implementation?

If you are in Vermont you can get help from Kirsten Workman who comes to Vermont from Washington State. During her time in Washington, Kirsten facilitated farmer participation in watershed cleanup plans, started the very successful Poultry Processing Equipment Lending Program, revitalized a local farmers market, and advocated for farmers across the region. She also taught classes for farmers on a wide array of topics including pasture management, composting, poultry processing, livestock management practices, whole farm planning and business planning for agricultural entrepreneurs. Find out about the many opportunities to learn good nutrient management by going to:

Goals and Strategies for a vaccination program for Organic Dairy

As the topic of vaccines gets raised yet again by the NOSB, this article from Guy Jodarski, illustrates the importance of a good vaccination program and the challenges with choosing the right vaccines. Hopefully the NOSB will agree to leave the situation as it is with vaccines at their next meeting and encourage more uniformity amongst certifiers with what can and cannot be used. To read his articles please go to:

Fly Management on Your Organic Dairy
Thursday, April 19, 2012, 10 am to 2 pm, The Essex Resort, Essex, Vermont

Learn from nationally known entomologists who will share their research and experience on fly control management strategies for your organic dairy farm. A panel discussion will follow the speakers’ presentations. For more information please go to:  

-- Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director  


Feed price update

Organic dairy farmers that are still suffering with ever higher corn and soybean prices and, at least in the northeast, there is so sign of any useful pasture. Future prices for corn and soybeans hold little hope for a drop in price. For more details please go to:

Odairy discussions – don’t like to tweet
but want to stay up
to date?

Odairy is the resource that allows organic dairy farmers and many, many others to network with each other – or just gossip!

Last month, discussions continued on problems farmers were experiencing associated with the lack of profitability in 2011. Discouraged farmers shared their frustration as they talked of getting jobs in town, selling out, and the recent difficulty of getting financing from lenders. A farmer asked about cost and availability of kelp. Another producer responded by saying that all kelp is not created equal.

For Liz Bawden's summary of Odairy happening in the last few months please go to:

To read the Odairy archives in detail please go to:

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