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NODPA E-NEWSLETTER | March 18, 2013

Making the Transition from
One Dairy to the Next

For the last 34 years Kress and Tammy Simpson have run a small 180-acre (72-ha) seasonal grass-based dairy (KTS Farm) in the Elk Run Watershed of Rutland Township in Tioga County. Through the vagaries of weather and markets they have built a successful business that they are now ready to transition. While their son and daughter have helped with milking chores growing up, they are now exploring other learning opportunities and Kress took steps to transition the farm business to a younger farmer that has been involved in the business. For more information please go to:


13th Annual NODPA Field Days,
September 26 & 27, 2013

with KTS Farm Tour and in conjunction with Holistic Management International

Planning has begun for NODPA’s 13th Annual Field Days that will be held at Mansfield Hose Company Banquet Hall, Mansfield, Pennsylvania on September 26 & 27, 2013. Our agenda is taking shape around providing organic dairy farmers the tools to enhance the health, productivity and profitability of their land and family while effectively and significantly increasing annual profits. On Thursday, in conjunction with Holistic Management International, NODPA will focus on whole farm planning using holistic management principles and will visit Kress and Tammy Simpson’s KTS Farm, Mansfield PA, to view these practices in action. Friday will focus on the important and timely issues confronting all organic dairy farm families, along with educational workshops.
In addition to a strong educational agenda and instructive farm tour, we will have our annual social hour and banquet, featuring local, organic food, and NODPA’s Annual Meeting on Thursday evening, and our producer-only meeting on Friday morning.  You will be able to visit the diverse trade show throughout the two-day event, and will have many opportunities to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. More information on the agenda will follow in the May NODPA News and online, at www.nodpa.com, so for now, SAVE THE DATE!

Look for Sponsorship and Tradeshow information in your email and mailboxes in the near future. For more information, or if you have questions about sponsoring or exhibiting at the NODPA Field Days, contact NODPA Field Days Coordinator Nora Owens anytime at noraowens@comcast.net or 413-772-0444.

Organic Check-off at the MOSES conference
Farmers unequivocally say “NO” to OTA’s idea of a standard program, open to further discussion

Inevitably, any discussion on the Organic Trade Association (OTA) proposal for a way to fund organic research and promotion must return to the three issues which have dominated the process since it became public in January 2012. The response to these issues that came out of the MOSES conference and associated meetings can be summarized as follows:

  • Yes for all organic and sustainable agriculture groups to making it a legislative priority to ask Congress to pass regulatory language allowing all organically certified operations to opt out of paying into the existing Federal Research and Promotion Program’s (FRPP). This will give the money back to producers and processors.
  • No to asking Congress to approve regulatory language that would establish organic as a single commodity under FRPP rules. Such a move is premature and should not be a legislative priority for OTA.
  • Yes to changing the format and coordination of the process of education and consultation with the organic community about ways to fund promotion of organic research and promotion. Such a process should be accessible to all participants in organic production, marketing and retailing and coordinated by a cross section of the organic community not a single organization. Many have suggested that the process used in developing the Organic Action Plan was a better model to follow.

For the complete article please go to:

For more information please go to:
NODPA’s Webpage http://nodpa.com/checkoff_opposition.shtml AND
OTA’s Webpage: http://www.ota.com/ORPP.html?idp=3&ida=32

Results from Short-Term Studies Using Kelp Meal as a Supplement to Dairy Animals at the University of New Hampshire
by Nicole Antaya and Andre F. Brito

For the past three years several studies were done at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) investigating the effectiveness of kelp meal supplementation to dairy animals (i.e., calves and lactating cows). Most of this research was conducted at the UNH Burley Demeritt Organic Dairy Research Farm, a working dairy farm currently milking 40 registered Jerseys in Lee, New Hampshire. The goal of the research presented here is to provide farmers with rigorous scientific information about the short-term effects of kelp meal on animal performance and milk composition. The UNH team is keen to get producers response to their work, for the full article go to:


UNH wants to hear from you on kelp meal. Watch your mailbox.

The use of kelp meal in the Northeast is believed to be widespread and in order to continue with future research in this area, we are asking NODPA members to fill out a brief survey about kelp meal. This survey will give farmers an opportunity to share questions, comments, and concerns about kelp meal supplementation and will provide UNH researchers with valuable information on the demographics and feeding practices related to kelp meal. Please look for this upcoming survey and mail back your responses using the pre-addressed and pre-paid envelopes. Please contact Dr. André Brito [Assistant Professor of Organic Dairy Management; andre.brito@unh.edu; (603) 862-1341] with any questions. Download the full survey at:

UNH_Kelp Meal Survey_NODPA.pdf

Feed and Pay Price Updates

Organic milk processors and buyers have implemented increases in pay price through seasonal Market Adjustment Premiums (MAP’s) (with Horizon extending their seasonal payment to June 2013) but costs are rising as rapidly as the premiums are extended. Producers are reporting record high farm-gate pay prices this winter, between $35-$40/cwt with quality and component payments added, but are still having difficulty paying bills. The current market data shows that Horizon is still the leader for sale of retail fluid product but store brand is now in second place ahead of Organic Valley/Stoneyfield Farm brands. Market reports also indicate that more organic milk is going into manufacturing than usual at this time of year as producers adapt their production systems to a higher seasonal price. How this will affect the traditional spring flush of milk, which is usually put into manufactured product or sold on the non-organic market, is uncertain especially as last year the increase was much less than usual.

On March 8th 2013, AMS reported that total organic fluid sales for December 2012 of 174 million pounds, were down 4.3% from December 2011, but up 2.9% January through December 2012 compared with 2011. Organic whole milk sales for December 2012, 48 million pounds, were up 8.2% compared with December 2011, and up 10.4% January through December 2012 compared with 2011. Organic Fat-Reduced milk sales for December 2012 of 126 million pounds were down 8.4% compared with December 2011, but up 0.6% January through December 2012 compared with 2011.

For more information and historical charts on pay price:

For more information on the static level of Feed prices please go to:

For Organic Farmers Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM) target pricing for corn and livestock please go to: www.ofarm.org

National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting in Portland, OR, April 9 -11, 2013

The meeting of the National Organic Standards Board, which occurs twice a year, provides a public forum for the organic community to weigh in on issues concerning organic production and processing. The upcoming meeting will take place at the Hilton Portland and Executive Tower, 921 Southwest 6th Avenue, Portland, OR 97204. This meeting will include a proposal to remove the existing expiration date of October 21, 2014 for the use of oxytetracycline in organic apple and pear production and replace that with a new expiration date of October 21, 2016. Within organic regulations there is always a tension between consumer expectations and the practicality of organic production that has been particularly evident in the petition before the NOSB to extend the use of antibiotics in organic tree fruit. All surveys of consumers show that the lack of antibiotics, growth hormones, GE contamination, herbicides and pesticides are key issues for consumers in deciding to purchase organic and is supported by sound scientific data. The NOSB and certifiers now need to reassure consumers that no matter what the effect is on farmers, acres under organic certification or domestic supply to the market, that organic certification will guarantee that there is no permitted use of antibiotics at any level in organic production. Tough on farmers, of course what else would you expect. Perhaps the buyers and marketers who forced growers into growing susceptible varieties can donate money for research and assistance with capital costs to minimize growers’ losses. For a longer article on the NOSB meeting please go to:


Don’t forget to send any comments by Tuesday March 19th
The agenda of topics and current proposals are available at www.ams.usda.gov/nosbmeetings

To submit feedback on the NOSB Subcommittees’ proposals go to Regulations.gov. You can search for the meeting using this docket number: AMS-NOP-12-0070, or by keywords such as NOSB, Organic, or Portland, or by clicking the link.

Deadline to submit written comments:
11:59PM ET March 19, 2013

-- Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director  


The Latest Feed Prices

Trading in organic grain and feedstuffs has been steady to weak on limited trading and.  Feed manufacturing demand continues to be light as most needs have been contracted or filled with imports. Producers were looking to move old crop inventories as new crop contracts were being offered at lower prices. Prices on soybeans are decreasing as new supplies become available but asking prices remain higher than mills are willing to pay at this time.  For more details and graphs about feed prices, please go to:


Pay and Retail Price update

Organic milk processors and buyers have implemented increases in pay price through seasonal Market Adjustment Premiums (MAP’s) (with Horizon extending their seasonal payment to June 2013) but costs are rising as rapidly as the premiums are extended. Producers are reporting record high farm-gate pay prices this winter, between $35-$40/cwt with quality and component payments added, but are still having difficulty paying bills.


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