newsletter banner
NODPA E-NEWSLETTER | January 11, 2010

Triple D Acres: New Sharon, Maine:
John and Marcia Donald, Jeff Donald and Frank Donald Jr.
Hard work and some basic principles to manage their farm efficiently and profitably have provided Triple D Acres with consistent high quality forages, superior milk, and Maine’s 2009 Outstanding Farm of the Year by New England Green Pastures Program. Learn more >

Final Pasture Rule Coming in January

The Access to Pasture Final Rule is edging its way to publication on the Federal Register sometime in January 2010. While there are no clear dates for publication, USDA Secretary and Deputy Secretary have said that this is a priority for them so we are hopeful that it will leave the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) soon enough to be published in January 2010. Although we do not know the content of the Final Rule, NODPA and FOOD Farmers welcomes the publication of a Final Rule that will define ‘access to pasture’  in such a way that it will be universally applied and rigorously enforced.

NODPA and FOOD Farmers recommend that the Final Access to Pasture Rule needs to be:

  • Implemented the day after its publication
  • Part of the 2010 Organic System Plan
  • All non-compliances enforced within the 2011 growing season
  • Revocation of certification for non-compliances

The clarification that this Final Rule will give to the requirement that dairy animals have access to pasture has been expected and discussed for nearly eight years. Anyone that is not prepared for change or ready to adapt their production and certification process to incorporate these changes is doing a disservice to themselves, their organization and the future of organic dairy. We hope that the universal interpretation and implementation of this and other rules will stop the practice of certifier-shopping that prolonged the Promiseland case and undermines the integrity of the organic systems.

NODPA has led the effort to build consensus on ‘access to pasture’ rulemaking; an effort that proved necessary when lawyers were not able to successfully litigate cases of non-compliance.   

NODPA has created a Pasture Rule Web Page so that Producers, Certifiers and other Professionals could prepare for a pasture rule that has some teeth in it. The page includes historical documents such as the FOOD Farmers Access to Pasture Recommended Standards (August, 2007), and NODPA's complete Pasture Rule Comments (submitted to the NOP in December 2008). Also on this page you will find useful documents on dry matter calculations, record keeping worksheets for pasture consumption, Organic System Plan (OSP) documentation already being used by Vermont Organic Farmers, LLC (VOF), and more. We will continue to post resources and links as they are made available to us and will update the page regularly with pertinent information. Visit the resource page:

Organic Pay Price

The full effect of the downturn in demand for organic dairy is being felt by all producers, with no one under the illusion that the situation will improve quickly. Consumer demand is still slightly negative, although there are regional and seasonal fluctuations in sales of fluid milk on a monthly basis; there are only two national buyers for wholesale organic milk; many producers are on short contracts; pay price has dropped; and smaller independent handlers and cooperatives are making difficult decisions about their future;. Many well established organic dairies that have a good history of working with their processor will have a reasonable year financially but there will be many that have to make difficult personal and professional choices with limited options in 2010. The principal challenges for organic dairy are to manage supply, based on modest and reasonable growth and to balance production by growing a diverse number of organic dairy products rather than relying on the non-organic market to balance any surplus. Organic milk is now a commodity in search of a secure market, with all the problems of a commodity that we know so well from the non-organic milk market. Link to article here: 

Organic Feed Summary

The weather has had a considerable effect on the harvesting as the Midwest has been subjected to wet weather followed by heavy snow storms. With prices at their lowest point in the last two years and very little grain and feedstuff being traded on the organic market, producers are waiting to see what the New Year brings. Wheat trade is at a near standstill and there are confirmed cases of wheat affected with vomitoxin and sprouting in the eastern states. Corn has had some low test weights as the harvest has progressed. For more detailed information:

Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director

News, Stories & Events

Invaluable Dairy Handbook Just Released From NOFA-NY
Whether you are transitioning to organic, have been certified organic for years, or are a consultant providing services to organic dairy/transitioning dairy clients, The Organic Dairy Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Transition and Beyond is a wonderful resource. MORE >

Summary of Concerns Regarding
A1 and A2 Milk and Dairy Breed Rankings

Questions and answers about milk rankings. Learn more >

Alfred State Picks Site for New Dairy
Alfred State College announced the site selected for its new facilities to teach dairy production. 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.

Upcoming Winter Conferences

Winter time is a great time of year to plan for the coming growing season, network with fellow producers and go to meetings or conferences. We have compiled dairy workshop highlights taking place at some of the more popular winter conferences in the Midwest and the Northeast. For many of these, it is common to tape record the sessions, so if you cannot make it to these events, perhaps you can get a dvd or audio recording of some of these interesting workshops. Learn more >

Recent Discussions
On ODairy

Calf blankets, round bale unrollers, lamnitis, drug treatments in milk,
de-wormers, rescuing a hypothermic calf, the
milk-per-acre concept, linebreeding, and anaphylactic shock from vitamins.

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.

Save the Date!

NODPA’s Field Days will
be held this fall, Thursday and Friday, October 7 and 8 at the MOFGA Fairgrounds in Unity, Maine.
We are giving you plenty of notice this time so you can plan to attend if at all possible. As usual, it will be a mixed program but centered on what is relevant to producers in this new decade and, as usual plenty of good food and conversation. There will be an in-person meeting of the Board and State reps and any other interested producers before the Field Days to review the past
year and to plan for 2011 and forward. If you have interest and concerns about NODPA’s future, please plan to attend this meeting and the producer meeting at Field

Upcoming Events

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

New Classified Ads: Updated December 2

Click here for the latest classifieds. | email: