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NODPA E-NEWSLETTER | December 9, 2013

Feed and Pay Price Update

The situation with pay price is unfortunately very static, with the processors non-committal about any increases in the base price in early 2014. Despite a lowering of the cost of organic corn and soybean on the commodity market, there hasn’t been much change in the cost of purchased feed from the mills as the companies use up their inventory purchased at higher prices. There are mixed reports of a drop in price for 16% grain by $30-50 per ton, but it appears it will take a few months for that to translate into a consistently lower price. With a base price that hasn’t changed, producers are still looking at increased costs of all inputs plus a mixed picture on conserved forage. Reports are that the harvest in New York is good with similar information from Pennsylvania but in other areas of the country yields have not been so uniform. 

A return to parity pricing is a hot media sound bite with a prediction of $40/cwt for conventional milk if no Farm Bill is passed (despite what happens to the Farm Bill it will take months for USDA to make any changes and by then the problem will have been solved either with a Farm Bill or an extension of the existing Farm Bill), it does highlight the disparity between the share of the retail dollar that the conventional and organic milk producers have. Whereas the average share of the retail dollar for the conventional producer is 50%, the organic producers are only receiving about 35% in the Northeast and around 25% in the West. Consumers who pay extra for the benefits of organic milk assume that organic dairy farm families are doing well economically whereas the truth is that most operations are not profitable and are not able to re-invest in themselves or their land and buildings.

For more details on pay price and retail sales please go to:


For an update of Feed prices please go to:


Organic Check-off    

With the Organic Trade Associations (OTA) language to enable an organic check-off in both the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill, there is no leverage to advocate to Congress about changing or dropping the language. If the 2013 Farm Bill passes either attached to budget legislation or as a stand-alone bill, then the OTA language will be the law. If the Farm Bill doesn’t pass then you can be sure that OTA will attach their language as an amendment on another piece of legislation. Having spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars they are unlikely to let it drop.

OTA is urging folks to participate in their survey about what an organic check-off will look like. Unfortunately they fail to have as a first question whether you want an organic check-off. Rather than accept that the check-off will happen and participate in the OTA survey, we urge everyone (whether producer or consumer) to sign our petition against an organic check-off. With over 600 signatures at present, you can register your disapproval of both the way that OTA has conducted the process and the content of their proposal, by signing the petition. Unfortunately, we have no drawing for a laptop or an IPad for your participation; just the knowledge that you will be doing the right thing.

To sign the petition please go to:


For more detailed information on the proposed organic check-off, please go to:


ODairy Discussion Summary

Like the New England weather, if you wait a day the topic for discussion on the ODairy list-serve will change. Tired of reading about flies and cow health? Perhaps a discussion on stray voltage might be your preference. If not then perhaps a few posts on Obama Care followed by a discussion on what to do if you have a positive test for GMO contamination, followed by…. well almost anything.

For a summary of the highlights of ODairy discussions please go to:

ODairy discussions >

If you want to join the list serve you can sign up at:


Enhancing Cover Crop Benefits With Species Mixtures And Organic Reduced Tillage Systems

“As we seek to get more efficient cropping systems, from the perspectives of crop yields, maintaining environmental quality, and managing labor, using cover crop mixtures and reduced tillage practices appear to be strategies worth considering.” Charlie White is a Sustainable Agriculture Extension Associate with Penn State Extension's Crop Management Team.  Charlie's research and extension activities are focused on how cover crops and cover crop mixtures can be used to meet farm management objectives such as improving soil health, enhancing nutrient cycling, and reducing input costs.  To read more on his research please go to:

Enhanced cover crop benefits >

Agroforestry: trees, bushes,
crops and intensive grazing

Agroforestry integrates “trees, crops and animals in the same area and at the same time, or in a time sequence.” Trees can be used as hedgerows or windbreaks for annual or perennial crops plus they can serve multiple objectives for grazing, timber harvesting, fruit and nut production plus a rich array of forage plants for grazing animals. They can also provide numerous other benefits for producers including flood, erosion and sedimentation control and for nature by providing a habitat for wildlife, a healthier local ecosystem, and a pleasant landscape. To learn more please go to:

Agroforestry primer >

Upcoming Winter Conferences

As we settle into winter, we find numerous opportunities for farmers, researchers, resource individuals, students, and consumers to come together, share information and network with one another. At many of these events, there are opportunities for all-day intensive workshops on subjects in soil health, animal husbandry, business management, and more. In our November and January NODPA News publications, we like to highlight a few of the many events taking place in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and West coast.  For a larger listing of upcoming events, please visit our Calendar of Events on the NODPA Website.

Winter Conference details >

Update on NODPA’s First Fundraising Campaign: “GOT MONEY – NODPA NEEDS SOME OF IT”

We have gotten off to a great start, but we still need your support. Please donate to NODPA to:

  • Support balance in organic decision-making by ensuring that producers have a voice
  • Help NODPA provide:
    •  a bimonthly print newsletter;
    • it’s ODairy Listserv;
    • it’s annual Field Days;
    • its comprehensive and regularly updated website
  • Support NODPA’s membership of the National Organic Coalition, National Sustainable Agricultural Coalition and Organic Trade Association.
  • Support NODPA’s ability to take producer concerns to Washington, to industry, to the media and to consumers and environmental groups.

NODPA is an independent organization; it acts as a voice for all producers in a marketplace dominated by industry.

Help NODPA deliver and donate online at http://www.nodpa.com/donate.shtml.

Please contact Nora Owens at noraowens@comcast.net or call 413-772-0444 if you have questions or need assistance. Thank you for your support!

-- Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director  


Advertise with NODPA for 2014 and SAVE

The NODPA News is a print newsletter that is published every two months: January, March, May, July, September and November. NODPA prints and distributes 2500 Newsletters per issue. Each issue is posted on our website for electronic subscriptions, and later for all to access for free.

We estimate that about 65% of our newsletter recipients are organic or transitioning dairy producers and the rest of the recipients are resource individuals, industry reps, veterinarians, university/researchers, and consumer/supporters.

Learn more about how you can reach this audience with discounted rates for signing up now.

Print advertising details >

Feed and Pay Price Updates

USDA Agricultural Marketing  Services (AMS) reports that total fluid sale for organic milk was up again for September 2013; 192 million pounds, which is 10.4% higher than September last year and 5.3% higher than 2012 year to date, with whole milk showing the biggest increase. Organic half gallons retail price is averaging 40 cents lower than 2012 at $3.48.

USDA AMS reported national organic grain and feedstuff prices were holding steady as the harvest season for corn and soybeans comes to an end. Demand for feed grade corn and soybeans remains good as the industry waits to see what yields are nationally with initial yields being higher than expected. Corn for June thru August delivery is being priced at $11 per bushel; about $4 per bushel lower than last year. There are variable reports across the country as to supply and price of organic feed, plus which feed mills contracted ahead and at what prices.

For more details on pay price and retail sales please go to:


For an update of Feed prices please go to:


Join Our

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.

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