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NODPA E-NEWSLETTER | February 17, 2014
Farm Bill News

The Farm Bill has passed and folks in DC are getting ready for the implementation phase. For a detailed analysis of all the great work done by the National Organic Coalition (NOC) to increase funding for organic, please go to:  and for more general information, go to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition website:

For organic dairy there was nothing in particular in the Farm Bill, although NODPA will continue to ask how the new dairy margin insurance can be applied to organic dairy rather than the margin being defined only by non-organic data. Many organic dairies would benefit from margin insurance right now. As non-organic dairy looks forward to cheaper feed and higher farm gate pay prices, they will definitely outperform organic ones in 2014.

Organic Check-Off

The Organic Trade Association successfully pushed their organic check off proposal forward in the Farm Bill. The implementation stage of allowing all organic operations to opt out of paying check-off funds will, hopefully, be enacted quickly and dairy processors will be able to reclaim their 20 cents per hundred weight check-off payment. All producers will agree that this 20 cents should immediately be added to the base pay price to start the process of recognizing the across-the-board input increases on all organic dairy farms. In fact, all the MAP’s and seasonal payments should be added to the base price rather than have them paid at the discretion of the processor. It’s time for the processors to pay producers their rightful share of the retail dollar.

For more details please go to:

Stonyfield has still not publicized anything about their pay price, for those that want to contract directly with the Stonyfield/Danone operation, but they have advertised for a field person to work with producers to build an organic pool of milk.

National Organic Program and
National Organic Standards Board

The NOC has been advocating for years for increased funding for the National Organic Program and this Farm Bill gave $5 million to the program to update and modernize its services and data compilation. The NOP repeatedly informs us that they are overstretched and have difficulties moving their priorities through the USDA and regulatory process. Hopefully, this $5 million will help speed that process.

The Origin of Livestock Proposed Rule has finally left the NOP and is working its way through the various processes of approval at USDA and other agencies, then on to the Executive Office of Budget and Management (OMB). This rule making has for a long time (6-7 years) been a priority for the NOP. Perhaps we might see the Proposed Rule published in the Federal Register by the Fall of 2014.

The NOP continues to push its new interpretation of the ‘sunset’ process, which restricts the input by producers regarding what can be used in organic production, and threatens consumer confidence in the integrity of the organic label.

For more information or to comment on this, please go to:

The NOP appears set to reduce the independence of the National Organic Standards Board by increasingly applying the regulations enacted by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). While the NOSB does come under this Act, it has historically had its own chairperson and decided on its own agenda, which has given consumers confidence in the accountability and independence of the program and the integrity of the organic seal. Too much control of this Board by the USDA will undermine this confidence and perhaps lead consumers to decide that the organic seal has lost its unique qualities.

The next NOSB meeting will be on April 29 - May 2, 2014, St. Anthony Hotel, 300 East Travis Street, San Antonio, Texas.

The NOC Pre-NOSB Meeting: April 28, 2014   9am-5:30pm
St. Anthony Hotel, 300 East Travis Street, San Antonio, Texas.

Poultry Litter on Pastures:
Trash or Treasure?

By Dave Johnson, NODPA Vice President, Organic Producer
Graze just what grows or fertilize for more?  It’s a question that goes through the minds of graziers, especially when it seems like the pasture quality is marginal, drought patterns persist, and the land base is pretty tight. While Kiwi grass farmers regularly time applications of synthetic Nitrogen (N) to manage the feed wedge, I would venture to guess that most organic grass farmers in the states seldom apply fertilizer to pastures, maybe because a shot of organic N is not as easy to come by.

Some of us live in areas where poultry litter is available, albeit via a few hour truck ride, for the cost of material plus hauling. So how does it work, and what are the benefits and drawbacks of using this on pastures? To read the complete article please go to:


Controlling Flies This Summer

While its difficult to imagine right now with the snow, sleet, freezing temperature and a climate change winter, the days are getting longer and spring is approaching. Now is the time to think about the coming fly season and prepare for it as it’s not only television presenters that get pink eye. While we might exchange anything for the cold, we will soon be cursing the problems that heat and flies bring including mastitis and pink eye. Like everything in organic management there is no silver bullet for fly control, so developing an integrated pest management program is most effective for overall fly control.  In her article, Jessica Starcevich, Entomologist for Spalding Labs, shares some of the wisdom accumulated from visiting numerous dairies of all sizes. A dairy farm that grazes can still manage to breed house flies and biting stable flies in abundance around buildings and in the pastures and the cattle will be bothered by face flies and horn flies.  Because these flies breed in different environments, they require different approaches to control. To read the whole article, please go to:


Online Resources, January 2014

Looking for some useful websites that can help you with your grazing strategies or provide insights on the economics of organic dairy production? To find more resources that NODPA has compiled please go to:


Do you know of some on-line resources that you would like to share with the NODPA readership? Let us know! We would love to share your resource connections in a future issue of the NODPA News and on our website. Please send any information to Lisa McCrory at

Learn from the Vet: Dairy Cows
March 14 & 15, 2014, 10 am – 4 pm

Join veterinarian, Dr. Hue Karreman, for this 2-day class that will empower livestock farmers to become close observers of their animals and develop disease prevention and health-promoting strategies that improve animal health and business performance.

The focus will be preventive animal husbandry and use of natural treatments that are allowed by the US National Organic Program. Participants will leave with a strong foundation in organic livestock health care strategies and farmers transitioning to organic will quickly feel at ease regarding animal health issues. Whether you have one cow, 40 cows, 100 cows or 1000 cows, you will come away from this class with sound, practical information.
Participants will learn:

  1. The CowSignals® visual observation system
  2. How to do a complete physical examination of individual animals
  3. How to roll a cow, pass a stomach tube to pump a stomach, give an IV, lift a hoof and apply a treatment, give homeopathic and botanical remedies, locate and utilize acupuncture points.
  4. Other procedures depending on cows.

These classes are loaded with practical information and action packed. Ample contact time with Dr. Karreman will be available. Each class is divided in classroom time and hands-on animal demonstrations in the barn and/or pasture (depends on season).

Areas to be covered:

  • Prevention
  • Grazing & nutrition perspectives
  • Allowed conventional treatments
  • Biological medicines
  • Botanical medicines
  • Acupuncture & Homeopathy

Veterinary issues will cover:

  • Udder/ milk quality/mastitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Digestion
  • Reproduction/Fertility/Infertility
  • Calves (pre-weaned and post-weaned)
  • Lameness cause and treatment
  • Whole animal issues

Customized classes are available for other time and locations with advance arrangements for groups of 15 or more participants. Please call or email Maria Pop, Education & Outreach Manager at:


or Hubert J Karreman, VMD
Organic veterinary medicine; Veterinarian at the Rodale Institute; Certified CowSignals trainer

-- Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director  


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Recent ODairy Discussions

The ODairy email list serve hosts robust discussions about retained placenta, milk fever, poultry litter on pasture, and more.

There is no one way to solve a health problem in organic production. For example a farmer needed to treat a cow with a retained placenta - suggestions included using a daily 60cc infusion of calendula tincture or calendula tincture mixed with a colostrum whey product, a daily infusion with dextrose and Uterine Care, and one farmer had success with infusing hydrogen peroxide. Additionally, it was recommended to give Caulophyllum tincture on day 1 and day 2 after calving, then switch to homeopathic Sabina and Pyrogen three times a day starting at day 4 post-calving. Another remedy is to insert Iodine pills starting at about day 4 at a dose of one gram (four pills) per day until the placenta is passed, and the cervix begins to close, usually by day 8. Uterine Bolus, a product from Van Beek Scientific was also recommended. Another farmer recommends Crystal Creek’s Fresh Cow Bolus -- she inserts 2 into the uterus daily until the placenta drops or can easily be pulled out.

After treating her down cow for milk fever with an IV bottle of Calcium, a producer asked for suggestions in choosing an appropriate homeopathic remedy. To find out the answer to this and many other questions please go to Liz Bawden, Organic Dairy Farmer, NODPA President  article:


OR, you can join the active and informative email list serve by going to list_serv.shtml. You can also follow the thread of past discussions, accessible from the same location on NODPA's website.

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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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