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Welcome to the June 2008
NODPA News email newsletter

These are challenging times on organic dairy farms with so much in flux and so much upward movement in most input costs. What hasn’t changed is the need for the organic community to work together to help secure our future. NODPA was born from a meeting of producers in 2001 following a decrease in pay price to a segment of organic dairy farms in the Northeast. We face a similar challenge now—not a decrease in pay price but a continuing erosion of our profitability because of dramatically rising prices without commensurate increase in pay.

With the rise in price for fuel and feed comes a changing reality. The most secure farms will be those who can grow most of their own feed needs, for forage prices have gone up as well as grain.  Top quality baleage has been sold in NYS for $95 a bale and availability is a factor as well as price if you are dependent on off-farm purchases. 
While I would love to have more farms in the area transition to organic dairy production, right now I cannot advise them to make the move.  With the conventional milk to feed ratio at an all time low of 1.9, I would be potentially suggesting business suicide for farms that have to purchase organic grain during their one-year transition. It is hard to see how they could ever climb out of that hole when a large share of existing organic farms can’t keep current with their organic feed bills due to the even poorer organic milk/feed ratio of 1. 

Like never before, it is important for all of the organic community to work together on sharing new and successful production practices, to work together to ensure that all organic dairy is certified on a level playing field, and to work together to secure a pay price that will enable us to financially survive and thrive. We want the next generation to see a future in organic dairying and we want more conventional farms to see it as a viable option.  Right now, neither of those are realities.

Kathie Arnold, NODPA President


Maximizing Milk On Homegrown Forages And Grains
by Lisa McCrory

Each load of grain is creeping higher and higher, with no end in sight. To remedy that situation, here are some farmer-tested strategies for growing high quality forages and grains, including choice of crops, crop rotations, feeding programs, production goals and economics. MORE >

DC Update, June 1, 2008
The Farm Bill is very close to becoming law despite its many clerical and political missteps. See what everyone is saying about it.

NOSB Update, June 1, 2008
While the Congress was on vacation, the volunteers that serve on the hardworking citizen advisory National Organic Standards Board were at work trying to make sense of the National Organic Program ... from adding Okra to the national list, TAP reviews and organically certified protein for fish.  MORE >

Price of Feed: With bad weather in the Midwest slowing down planting, there is no sign of any lowering in grain prices. However, some good weather this Spring has allowed some farmers in the northeast to harvest a good first cut. For more on feed prices, click here.


Grazing Schools Galore
The grass is growing, even in Maine, and with it brings grazing schools and workshops in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin and Minnesota. For those of you that have harvested your first cut of hay or are looking to increase your use of valuable pasture, June is full of workshops and grazing schools.  Click here for details of June events.

Lots of new classifieds!
Animals for Sale: Certified organic 100% grassfed cows. Certified organic steers. English bulldog pups. Holstein herd. Holstein breeding bull. Looking for: Ice cream producer who handles small batches.
Grains and Forage for Sale:
Large, certified organic alfalfa round bales. Equipment: Two types of balers. Smith Cast Iron Boiler 19A series. Looking for used bale wrapper.
Or, go to the classifieds home page.

May NODPA Newsletter available online
The May isssue of NODPA News featured stories on fly control, homegrown forages, processor contract requirements, the future economics of organic dairy, reflections on consumers and high dairy prices, the rising cost of feed, and much more.
Click here to open a PDF version of the newsletter.

Recent Conversations
on ODairy

In the past month, ODairy ListServ participants have debated pay price issues, discussed grain prices and answered questions about a wide variety of topics, including fly predators, difficult births and when to band and dehorn bull calves. Learn more > | email: