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NODPA E-NEWSLETTER | December 3, 2009

Scholten Family Farm: Weybridge, Vermont
Roger and Patty Scholten started organic production two and a half years ago, and are already producing delicious artisanal cheeses. Learn more >

There is no shortage of news on organic dairy as the year ends ...

The USDA Administrative Law Judge supported NOP’s revocation of one of the largest organic livestock and grain operations, Promiseland Livestock, LLC. The judge ruled that they would lose their organic certification for 4 years for failure to supply documentation to back up their organic certification. Click here to download the judgment. This test case brought by NOP supports their right to have access to information and data to verify the organic systems plan.

Promiseland was the subject of many complaints and allegations, including feeding non-organic feed to livestock, purchasing conventional grain, mislabeling and reselling it as an organic product, and misrepresentation of dairy replacement heifers as organically certified. Unless Promiseland appeals, their certification will be revoked by the end of the year. This is further proof that the system can work, albeit very slowly. With increased staffing, the new commitment from USDA and the support of key appointees, we look forward to enforcement of all the regulations in a timely manner.

The Access to Pasture Final Rule is weaving its way to publication on the Federal Register by the end of the year and the NOP is busy advertising for more staff. 

There is no light at the end of the tunnel yet for organic dairy producers who are struggling with contract issues as a result of Hood leaving the organic procurement market. Organic Valley has stepped up to the plate and will provide a continued market for those that have a current contract with Hood after January 1st 2010. Organic Valley’s Dairy Director, Jim Wedeberg, pledged to retain as many farms as possible as the new year unfolds. For those Hood producers whose contract ends before the end of the year, there are very limited opportunities for them to continue in organic production into 2010.

The real deal - certified organic milk is the Gold Standard in the Dairy Case. If you are an organic dairy producer in northern Maine and are part of MOOMilk, there is hope. Thanks to the  unique partnership of the Farm Bureau, State of Maine, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), milk processor Smiling Hill Farm, distributor Oakhurst Dairy and Hannaford supermarkets, there will be a continued market for their milk. Their success, and the success of all the organic dairy brands, relies on consumers making the choice to support them with their limited dollars in the face of plenty of other products in the dairy case.

The Federation of Organic Dairy Farmers (FOOD Farmers), the umbrella group for organic dairy producers across the country, is concerned about the misleading of consumers by labeling and packaging of dairy products. Today, more than ever, shoppers can visit the retail dairy case and find dairy products labeled with a variety of claims including: “certified organic”, “all natural”, “rBST-free”, “grass fed”, “naturally raised”, and “animal welfare friendly.” Consumers are inundated with labeling messages that are not backed by rigorous state and/or federal regulations. This threatens the livelihood of family farms and the future of the organic seal. The public wants food they can trust - that's why all food companies need to be careful about the claims they make especially when it comes to how food has been produced and how they represent product under household name brands. Click here to download FOOD Farmers press release.

Producer Handler rule, comment period ends December 21.On October 21st, 2009, USDA issued a recommended decision that, if it becomes rule, would require producer-handlers marketing more than 3 million pounds of fluid milk products each month to be subject to the same pooling and pricing provisions as fully regulated handlers in all Federal Milk Marketing Orders. Only producer-handlers marketing 3 million pounds of fluid milk or less each month would continue to be exempt. Currently, all producer-handlers are exempt. If this USDA recommended decision comes to fruition as rule, it has potential to have an impact on the organic dairy marketplace. For more information click here to download Kathie Arnolds article.

Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director

SPECIAL RATES FOR ADVERTISING IN ALL 6 ISSUES ... with even great discounts for business members

Advertise in the NODPA Newsletter for the 2010 calendar year, and become a Business Member. Both provide excellent opportunities for exposure to your targeted audience. With a full calendar-year commitment to the NODPA News we offer a 10% discount on advertising. If you are a Business Member for the 2010  year, you earn an additional 5% discount on advertising costs.  

Our Business Membership costs $150/year and provides you with a free listing in the Web Business Directory, discounts on newsletter advertising, free on-line classifieds, a subscription to the NODPA News, and the satisfaction of supporting NODPA’s work on behalf of organic dairy farmers.  

Same reasonable rates for the past 3 years!

2010 Advertising costs per issue are as follows:

1/8 page ad (3.5" w x 2.25 " h) =  $60.00
1/4 page ad (3.5" w x 4.75 " h) =  $130.00
1/2 page ad (7.5" w x 4.5 " h) =  $230.00
Full page ad  (8” w x 10.25” h) =  $450.00

  • Classified Ads: $10 for the first 30 words; $0.10/word over 30
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Ad Deadline for the January 2010 issue is December 16, 2009. Visit our website and view previous newsletters. (
Please send your check (made payable to NODPA) to:
Lisa McCrory, NODPA News Editor, 341 Macintosh Hill Rd, Randolph, VT 05060. For more information, call 802-234-5524 or email:

Thank you for supporting Organic Dairy Farmers!
Lisa McCrory, NODPA News and Web Editor

News, Stories & Events

At the USDA, What Does Change Mean?
For the first time, advocates can lobby for real change in one sector of the market; organic and sustainable agriculture - and get an ear at the highest levels of the USDA, says Sam Fromartz. MORE >

Head Blight Alert!
High levels of Fusarium Head Blight (FHB or scab) infection have been reported throughout New England. Learn more >


Eight and a half years ago NODPA was formed in response to a threat of a drop in milk price. In 2009 NODPA is the only organization whose mission is to represent the interest of organic dairy producers no matter who they sell their milk to.

NODPA is funded through membership contributions and grants, but a significant grant was lost this year due to the Madoff Scandal, so we need your support now more than ever.

Learn more about how you can support NODPA by clicking here.

Research Updates

Sustainable Farm Educators. Northeast SARE periodically looks around the region for articulate, skilled farmers who can go to workshops and conferences that address issues important to other farmers. Could you be one? Learn more >

Udder Health and Milk Quality on Organic Dairy Farms. The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont and the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association combined energies this past October to provide a workshop for veterinarians covering the National Organic Program’s certification standards for organic livestock production systems with a focus on udder health and milk quality. MORE >

UNH Welcomes Dr. André F. Brito. The University of New Hampshire has recently added a new staff person to their Organic Dairy Management Team. Learn more about him.

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.

The latest corn and soybean prices, and grain price trends over the past four years. MORE >

Upcoming Events

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

New Classified Ads: Updated December 2

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