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Welcome to the February 2009
NODPA Enewsletter

Welcome to the first enewsletter of the Obama administration.
Did the groundhog see its shadow? If he did, does that mean we will get a final pasture rule this Spring?

With the changing administration at USDA, no announcement of any Under Secretary appointments and a 60 day hold on any final rulemaking, we are left to guess about what the timeline for publication of the final pasture rule and the publication of the Proposed Rule on dairy replacements will be. Luckily, all the commenting and input on the Proposed Rule was completed so there was no delay in that process from the change in the administration.

We hope that the people appointed as Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs and the head of Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will come from the pool of the many highly qualified candidates that have a good understanding of the National Organic Program, some of whom played a leading role in the establishment of the program. The growth of organic production and the increasing sophistication of the program makes it essential that there is a champion for it at the highest level possible.

Once the announcements are made, we can all work with the appointees to ensure the future success of the program and towards a sustainable future for organic dairy producers. The National Organic Coalition, of which NODPA is a member, has sent recommendation to the Obama administration that can be viewed at:

Farm gate prices: The current economic climate and the low farm gate price for conventional milk will inevitably provide increased profits for those organic dairy companies that also have a presence in the conventional market (for example, WhiteWave Foods, HP Hood, Stonyfield Farms). With states under increased pressure to cut dairy support programs, limited financial support from the MILC program and, with the exception of fuel, no lowering of costs, organic dairy farmers are still suffering from a pay price that doesn’t cover production costs and reinvestment in their farm. Its way beyond the time when companies need to increase their pay price to provide a living wage for their dedicated suppliers of a high quality product.

There is always an excuse to say that market pressures are too great (excessive supply which was followed by too much competition for private label milk followed by uncertainty about the growth of demand), but the reality is that the cost of milk at the farmgate is only a small factor in the retail price and processor profitability. Having a plan to increase the pay price on a regular basis can be factored into forward budgeting on retail pricing and margins (profitability), similar to what is done with other production costs. The producer voice was clear and unequivocal on the issue of strict pasture standards to protect the integrity and future sustainability of the organic milk market. The processors need to take their responsibilities seriously and protect their suppliers by increasing pay price.

The National Organic Action Plan summit
is on February 25 and 26 in LaCrosse WI. This is a great opportunity to contribute to creating a national plan for the future of organics by either attending the meeting or contributing online with your comments. For more information please go to:

Stay warm and well fed
Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director

News, Stories & Events

Morris, Minnesota WCROC Has
Unique Dairy Research Effort

The West Central Research and Outreach Center will be the only research facility in the country to compare both organic and conventional herds at its research site. Learn more >

“It’s all about internal mineral balance!” says Dr. Richard Holliday. MORE >

Get Step-by-Step Organic Farm Plan
Help in New Workbook

Transitioning to organic farming? Already switched, but needing to update your farm plan? Get step-by-step help in the Organic Whole Farm Planning Workbook, just released by Ohio State University’s Organic Food and Farming Education and Research (OFFER) Program. MORE >

New Organic Agriculture Web Site Features
Land-Grant University Research

Visit and find a NEW  feature: eOrganic, which is being launched at a number of organic farming and production conferences this month, is providing valuable information on organic farming, including a section on organic dairy production!

NODPA has contributed a number of farmer profile articles and has shared many livestock production articles from past issues of NODPA News including articles on grazing, livestock health, genetics, milk quality and more. Click here for a press release that provides detailed information on the new site.

For all the businesses and resource professionals out there, it is time to RENEW or BECOME a NODPA Business Member.

As a Business Member, you will earn many opportunities to connect with an engaged group of organic dairy farmers. Your membership support will also contribute to NODPA’s education and advocacy programs representing organic dairy producers across the United States. With our improved website and monthly e-newsletters, the traffic to our website has increased dramatically and the $150 annual membership fee is money well spent, giving you an opportunity to support an organization that is truly looking out for your client base.

Click here to learn more about the benefits of business membership, including:

  • business member discounts on our already competitive advertising rates in our bimonthly print newsletter
  • and attractive placement in our online business directory

Already convinced of the value of membership?
Click here
to sign up and pay online for our valuable business membership.



On February 20, 2009, we'll be deactivating our Yahoo ListServ. In the week prior to that, starting February 13, we'll be sending out emails about how to switch your registration to the new ODairy site.

Why are we moving ODairy? Moving it to our own servers will give us control over the archived postings and conversations, and it will increase the number of people who come to the NODPA web site for news and information.

To our faithful contributors: The transition should be fairly painless, and we'll give you lots of support during that transition.

Contact Ed Maltby with any questions:

Recent Discussions On ODairy
It has certainly been busy on ODairy recently. The discussions began with rat control, and ranged from the feeding of young calves to outwintering, to the best workboots ... to cannabilism in cows. MORE >

Organic feed prices
As organic crop producers prepare for another growing season, they are reaping the benefits of strong and stable prices during a time of economic crisis. Organic grain producers have experienced only moderate price softening, compared to the negative price volatility of conventional crops. Organic livestock producers are also seeing no drop in the price of grain although there is increased availability of both grain and hay on the market in the northeast. For the latest organic grain prices, click here.

You can expect a more thorough evaluation of the organic grain situation in the March 09 NODPA News, our 40-page print newsletter.

SUPPORT NODPA! Newsletter/membership subscription renewals and a request for donations have been mailed out in the past few weeks. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT! PLEASE RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY OR, IF YOU ARE NEW TO ORGANIC DAIRY, PLEASE JOIN! We are not a 501C3 charity, but as a trade organization any subscription or donation can be a business expense (and we all have plenty of those). You can also pay by credit card on the web ... or just send a check to Ed Maltby, 30 Keets Rd, Deerfield, MA 01342. Make checks payable to NODPA

Upcoming Events

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

Farmer Classifieds

Click here for the latest classifieds. Lots of organic baleage available. Herds wanted, and cattle available. Relief milking/farm sitting services available. | email: