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NODPA E-NEWSLETTER | January 22, 2012

Indian Stream Farm

John and Cindy-Lou Amey operate Indian Stream Farm located in an historic settlement in Northwestern New Hampshire - once known as The Republic of Indian Stream.  Indian Stream Farm has been in the Amey family for over 100 years. John has had Cindy-Lou by his side for the past 10 years. The farm today consists of 1,550 acres of which 300 acres are tillable, and 150 acres are used for pasture. For more information please go to: ff_january_2013.shtml

Parity Price: An explanation and critique
by ex NOSB member and organic dairy farmer Kevin Englebert

When the President of the United States and Congress attached as much importance to the retail price of milk as to the total economy of the nation, we know just how dysfunctional the governance in Washington DC has become. Apart from the simple question of what is wrong with paying dairy farmers a fair price for their milk, there was absolutely no understanding of the underlining principles behind the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 and the rationale of basing the price that farmers are paid on a parity price equivalent – preserving the real value of the pay price farmers get for their milk. Kevin’s article provides a great insight into the economic, political, and social justice of parity pricing. A must-read for all farmers and consumers. To read the full article please goes to: in_parity_pricing_012213.shtml  

Secretary of Agriculture appoints a
working dairy farmer and environmentalist to the NOSB – at last!

In a move that has drawn praise from producers, consumers and environmentalist alike, the U.S. Department of Agriculture appointed environmentalist and farmer, Francis Thicke, Ph.D. to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) on January 15, 2013, adding the valuable perspective of a working farmer, scientist and activist to this 15-member advisory Board. Francis and Susan Thicke own and operate Radiance Dairy, a grass-based organic farm in Southeast Iowa that follows ecological principles in the management of farmland & livestock, the utilization of renewable energy systems for their home and farm, and the production and marketing of their value added dairy products. The Thickes have been farming organically since 1975, got certified in 1992, and moved to a new farm in 1996 changing it from a crop farm (corn and soybeans) to a grass-based enterprise.

For the full article about his appointment, please go to:

For our feature farm article on Francis Thicke please go to: ff_september_2011.shtml

Feed price update

USDA Organic Dairy Market News reported that despite the increase in retail prices, organic sales are at an all-time high for October 2012, approximately 6% higher that October 2011 and 5% higher over the last 12 months. As demand for raw milk increases, pay price remains largely unchanged and the organic dairy farmer share of the retail dollar remains at least 15% lower than their conventional neighbors. But there is no break in the price for feed with 16% crude protein organic feed nearly double what it was in 2010, even with imports of soybeans and substitution of other grains and alfalfa in pelleted mixes. There’s not much change in the price of corn and soybeans, but many project an increase in product from Canada, China and South America to provide for the US livestock market. The bushel price for corn and soybeans has remained steady at $15 and $28 respectively. The price for soybean meal is steady at $1,175- $1,300 per ton depending on location, but still $400 higher than last year. Corn meal ranges from $600-700 per ton depending on location. Hay is increasingly more difficult to find and prices are around $300 per ton. For all the details please go to:


Recognition of those dedicated organic dairy farmers who steer NODPA’s actions and policies

Who governs NODPA? Organic dairy farmers and only organic dairy farmers can be members and elect the Board of Directors who control the priorities and direction of the organization, the hiring, and firing of its Executive Director. NODPA members are continuously contributing their thoughts and opinions informally and formally through State Representatives and Board members. The Board and State Representatives guide NODPA and make sure that it is staying true it’s mission of “enabling organic dairy family farmers, situated across an extensive area, to have informed discussion about matters critical to the well being of the organic dairy industry as a whole.” They spend countless hours on conference calls, usually after 8:00 pm (with only occasional snoring after a long day’s work!); they contribute financially through the NODPA check-off program; they attend the Annual NODPA Field Days and other events to represent and promote NODPA and organic dairy farmers; they work on editing position papers, articles and press releases; they travel to meet with processors to advocate for a higher pay price and better contractual conditions, and they provide support for NODPA staff. For all the details and short bios on NODPA Board members please go to: in_NODPA_board_012213.shtml

NODPA makes it easier to Renew Your Subscription and support the organization

At the last NODPA Field Days the NODPA Board and State Reps agreed that we would change our subscription from being variable throughout the year to having all subscriptions come due in January of each year. This will make it easier for producers and subscribers to budget the very competitive dues and also simplify the paperwork attached to sending out renewal reminders. Shortly after you receive this newsletter you will receive an invoice reminder for an annual subscription to support NODPA’s work and continue receiving NODPA’s bi-monthly print publication.

As you consider how to support NODPA you may be wondering where your money goes and what it supports. We believe our job is to devote all our resources to representing the views and needs of organic dairy farm families, especially around pay-price and organic integrity; to provide producers and all those interested in organic dairy with information, opinion, news, production advice and support; to represent producers’ opinions to USDA NOP and to Congress; and to be that squeaky wheel or loud megaphone that reminds folks that without organic dairy producers there is no product to process, package, market, distribute, sell and consume.

Learn more: in_NODPA_Subscription_012213.shtml
Pay Online: support_5ways.shtml

Update on the Organic Check-off

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) representing manufacturers, processors and consumer cooperatives, continues to push their concept of how pooling money under a federally mandated Research and Promotion Program can be a success and be different from all other check-off programs in both how it is governed, administered and distributes money. With no proof of that and a history of family farms being abused by these programs to this day, producers from Maine to California and in-between are giving a resounding ‘no’ to the concept.  Representative Peter Welch of Vermont is championing the OTA proposal within the House and some rumors have it as playing a negative role in the temporary extension of the Farm Bill that was so fair to the progressive programs. OTA obviously doesn’t represent the whole organic community and should be wary about presenting that image as it may backfire on them. OTA is characterizing the creation of an organic commodity under the federal program as just a technical fix. Unfortunately it’s not that simple because once established it will be difficult to have any other national program approved by Congress and the label of organic commodity can be taken and used by others under a different administration to impose solutions on the whole organic community. While dairy, corn and livestock producers are knowledgeable about a check-off, most organic produce growers and packers are not. Some produce growers are horrified by the thought of a check-off on the many different varieties of product they have. OTA talks about making the private organic labels and the large conglomerates pay into a check-off, but the USDA Research and Promotion Programs were not mandated or designed for that and it would require wholesale re-writing of a program to make it suit that perspective. With all the divide and partisanship in Congress, OTA needs to be willing to take a step back, stop pushing for legislation for an organic commodity and re-open dialogue on a good process to move forward. We stand ready to participate in that discussion. For more information on the check-off please go to:

-- Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director  


The Latest Feed Prices

There is no break in the price for feed with 16% crude protein organic feed nearly double what it was in 2010, even with imports of soybeans and substitution of other grains and alfalfa in pelleted mixes. There’s not much change in the price of corn and soybeans, but many project an increase in product from Canada, China and South America to provide for the US livestock market. The bushel price for corn and soybeans has remained steady at $15 and $28 respectively. The price for soybean meal is steady at $1,175- $1,300 per ton depending on location, but still $400 higher than last year. For all the details please go to: feed_prices_01-22-

Winter Conferences
in 2013, Part 2

As the days get longer (slowly) and definitely colder, we have some time to ruminate over the previous growing season and start to plan for the next. If a farmer is ever to leave the farm, wintertime is usually the time to get away – if only for a couple days. And what better place to vacation than to a conference where you can mingle with your peers, get inspired by new ideas, and connect with various resources/consultants that you have been meaning to contact for ages.

As promised, we have brought together a second article that is a collection of upcoming conferences taking place February and March in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and New York. We hope that this is useful and encourages you to get out there, learn, share, network and plan for the coming growing season. For more information please click here.

Organic Farmer Survey

Help NOFA and MOFGA develop relevant policy positions and priorities. NOFA and MOFGA have developed a survey to improve their policy work--including such issues as wages, housing, and exemptions from unemployment insurance, immigration, and realizing fair prices in the marketplace. This survey is for all organic farms – certified organic, farmers’ pledge, self-declared organic, rural or urban – regardless of size or crops.  It will take 20-30 minutes to fill out the questions on your farm’s labor practices and markets. The 2012 Census of Agriculture does not cover all of this information!

Personal information is optional, and the results will be confidential and only shared in summary form.  The survey forms an important part of Becca Berkey’s dissertation at Antioch University New England and is a joint project with the NOFA Interstate Council Domestic Fair Trade Committee.
If you have questions, contact Becca Berkey, Lead Researcher at or 407-506-9204 or Elizabeth Henderson of the NOFA Interstate Council Domestic Fair Trade Committee at elizabethhenderson13

You will find the survey at:

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