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NODPA E-NEWSLETTER | August 11, 2010

State of the organic dairy industry ... and an invitation to a great gathering

Growth management proposals for non-organic dairy are gaining support across the country as the industry grapples with ideas about how to prevent another longer than usual downturn in prices that happened in 2009 which caused large losses for dairy farmers and an erosion of their assets and credit.

The non-organic dairy pay price is slowly rising with help from Federal subsidies but the future is still uncertain for a market that uses the world price to balance supply. Organic Dairy is gaining strength as sales increase and companies are encouraging their producers to return to normal production levels or expand their herds, and are also starting to sign up dairies that want to transition.

The market for organic dairy cows is very active, with optimism about the future of organic dairy increasing. There is no increase in the organic pay price in the foreseeable future but it looks like the seasonal increase of $3-4 per cwt contribution to increased winter costs will be honored by the major companies. The USDA is forecasting a bumper corn and soy crop with prices of around $4 per bushel for non-organic corn. With little difference between the organic and non-organic price, some organic corn growers are questioning whether the extra physical effort and risk are worth it. Not good news for organic livestock farmers.

The brochure for NODPA’s 10th annual Field Days is now available online. The Field Days, which will be in Unity, ME on October 7th and 8th at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s (MOFGA) Education Center and Common Ground Fairgrounds. Keynote speaker will be Miles McEvoy, Deputy Administrator of the National Organic Program and he will also answer questions on the pasture rule and other regulations on Friday morning. Other speakers include Lawrence Andres, Dr. Heather Darby, a workshop discussion on supply management, and an on-farm renewable energy panel of producers and resource people discussing various conservation and renewable energy enterprises and practices.

Thursday afternoon will spotlight renewable energy projects, strategies and opportunities with concurrent demonstrations, workshops and displays followed by the documentary film “What’s Organic about Organic?” (a copy of which is available as a door prize), a social hour and a wonderful dinner.

The Producer only meeting on Friday will look at the next year’s priorities for NODPA and developments in milk supply/growth management within organic and conventional dairy. This conversation will continue with the presentation by Lawrence Andres on his experience in Canada. As a producer organization answerable directly to farmers, NODPA encourages as many producers as possible to attend or call in on our conference line.

Our very active member-elected Board of Directors and State Representatives value input from all organic dairy producers.
Horizon Organic has donated money to assist organic dairy producers with costs associated with attending Field Days including travel, relief milkers and other costs associated with leaving the farm. Please apply to Ed Maltby ( if you need any cash assistance to attend. There will be some great door prizes, plenty of good food and some great conversations.

You can register for the Field Days on-line or download a brochure ... or, you can request a brochure by emailing Ed, and we will mail one to you.

Visit the NODPA website ( to see all the great updates we have and the wealth of information about production, milk markets, pay price, the pasture rule, grain updates and much much more.

Ed Maltby
NODPA Executive Director

News, Stories & Events

Organic and Raw Dairy Workshops at Northeast Organic Farming Association Summer Conference
UMass Amherst, August 13-15, 2010

The 2010 NOFA Summer Conference will feature a number of workshops on organic dairy production and grazing, as well as a raw milk symposium taking place just before the conference begins. MORE >

Maintaining Healthy Productive Pastures
What can livestock producers do to makes the soil both healthy and productive? MORE >

2010 Northeast Animal-Power Field Days
Friday-Sunday, October 15-17
Tunbridge Fairgrounds, Tunbridge, VT 05077

Dedicated to working draft animals in enterprises that support sustainability of  local communities and vital land-based economies. MORE >

eOrganic Plans Pasture Rule Webinars
for Summer and Fall
The eOrganic Dairy Team has scheduled a series of Pasture Rule related Webinars for late Summer and Fall 2010. Mark your calendars. MORE >


NODPA’s 10th Annual Field Days And Producer Meeting
October 7 and 8,
MOFGA's Common Ground Fairgrounds in Unity Main

Click here to learn more about the event ... and register online.

Recent Discussions
On ODairy

Pasture rule questions on the 30% DMI rule, the minimum of 120 days as the grazing season, and the amount of record keeping. The use of nurse cows. What about cows who refuse their high-energy, low-protein grains? MORE >

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