enews ad
newsletter banner
NODPA E-NEWSLETTER | May 20, 2013

Call your senators now to tell them to
“Strike Out the amendment that will establish an organic check-off program”

Starting on Monday May 20th the full Senate will discuss the 2013 Farm Bill as recommended by the Senate Ag Committee
Title V11: Bennet 04-1 organic promotion amendment

If you have a relationship with your Senator, you can ask them to sponsor a floor amendment to take the Organic Promotion Check-Off Amendment out of the bill.

Call Your Senators’ offices and ask to speak to the Staff who deals with agriculture –
BE SURE TO LEAVE A MESSAGE IF YOU
DON’T GET A PERSON!!

Background on the check-off issue:

  1. Organic Farmers don’t want a national organic check-off and don’t want organic as a commodity.
  2. Organic Farmers see organic as a Value-Added, Specialty Product that is third party certified from Field to Table and is produced without the use of herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics or growth hormones. It is not and hopefully never will be just a commodity
  3. Currently those organic farmers that produce 100% organic products can exempt themselves from paying in to the conventional check-off programs. These funds are currently used by farmers to establish their own promotion and research programs that they can control and assure accountability. Under the proposed regulation, the current exemption for organic producers from the conventional or organic check-off will disappear when an organic check-off is established; the choice will be either the organic or conventional check-off, no exemption. Organic farmer controlled research and promotion programs will disappear because check-off dollars will automat.
  4. OTA says “The Check-off will increase the number of US organic acres!” The reason that organic acres are disappearing is because the price farmers get is not enough to justify the cost of farming under organic certification. Processors and manufacturers are purchasing raw materials from abroad cheaper and in greater quantity than they can be produced in the US.
  5. An organic check-off does not differentiate between a product made with US raw materials or imported raw materials.
  6. The OTA process, which has been closely controlled to assure a predetermined result, has denied them the support of organic farmers in combating the pressure that will come from the conventional check-off programs and commodities as this initiative moves forward. The OTA process has created division rather than consensus in the organic community.
  7. Those of us who watched the House Farm Bill Ag Committee deliberations on CSPAN heard the sponsor of the House amendment clearly say that if the amendment was passed and all organically certified farmers were given exemption from paying into the conventional check-off program, there would be an organic check-off program set up within 2 years that they would then pay into so there would be no ‘freeloaders’ (those that don’t want to pay into any check-off). Either OTA misrepresented the intent of their amendment to Congress or Congress is voting on something they don’t understand or in fact this amendment does say that an organic check-off will be established as a condition of allowing a separate organic commodity program.

Please tell your Senators that organic farmers DO NOT want an organic check-off and that should be struck from the upcoming Farm Bill.  If they say they have heard differently then tell them that farmers can’t afford lobbyists or DC offices. Learn more about how to take action >

Featured Farm:
Dykstra Farms, Burlington, WA

Andrew Dykstra and his family have a certified organic vegetable, seed and dairy farm located in Burlington, Washington (Skagit County). Their farm consists of about 600 acres of which 500 are tillable. Transitioning to organic production happened progressively over time. Andrew’s father, Douwe, purchased the farm in 1972 and in 1981 he started making changes that steered the farm towards organic production. The first step was replacing commercial fertilizer with compost in 1989, followed by the decision to manage all the land organically. In 1992 they stopped using antibiotics on their cows, and in 2004, being one of the first organic farms in their county to transition to organic dairy, they started shipping organic milk to Organic Valley. Today, Andrew and his wife, Sandy, farm with their sons Chris and Charlie. They milk a closed herd of 260 Holsteins, with annual production of 15,000 lbs per cow. Milk quality and components average 191,000 SCC, 3.85% butterfat, 3.03% protein, and 5.61% other solids. For the full story:

ff_may_2013.shtml

Richard H. Mathews has been hired as the Western Organic Producers Alliance (WODPA) New Executive Director

A message from Rick: On May 15, 2013, with great pleasure, I began work as Executive Director of the Western Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (WODPA). 

WODPA’s mission is to preserve, protect, and ensure the sustainability and integrity of organic dairy farming across the West.  As Executive Director, I am responsible for furthering that mission by working with the Board of Directors and State Representatives to manage and develop the organization. Our ultimate goal is a sound, vibrant, sustainable organic dairy sector.

I retired from the USDA in late 2009 with nearly 34 years of experience serving American Agriculture through various USDA positions and programs; including about 11 years in leadership positions with the National Organic Program. 
So why would I take on this position?  Developing the access to pasture rule drew me close to the organic dairy sector where I had the pleasure of working closely with many of the sector’s good people.  That experience instilled a keen desire to see organic dairying thrive.  WODPA has that same desire.  Accordingly, I want to use my skills and knowledge to help WODPA in its quest to make its mission a reality. Not only do I look forward to working with the WODPA membership, I also look forward to working closely with Ed Maltby and the rest of NODPA’s leadership.

To access WODPA website please go to: http://www.wodpa.org/index.html

Managing Flies on Your Organic Dairy Farm

In this timely article Dr. Paul Dettloff and Dr. Sarah Slaby take a look at flies or musca domistica which have been around since man appeared, and will continue to irritate both dairymen and their cows. The two veterinarians look at the many different ways in which flies can be dealt with from sticky tape, feeding higher levels of kelp, predator wasps, barn sparrows and many ingenious mechanical traps. To learn more about what harm flies will do and ways to keep the population, down please go to:

production_health_fly_control_05-20-13.shtml

The Cost of Low Blood Calcium
in Dairy Cows

Dairy farmers know the signs of milk fever and how it can impact transition cow performance, but few are aware of the negative impacts of mildly low blood calcium levels.  New research is shedding light on how fresh cow blood calcium levels affect fresh cow performance and production. 
Dr. Ryan Leiterman tries to answer the following questions and give advice on how to apply the answers to your dairy:

  • What costs my herd more money; down milk fevers or mildly low blood calcium levels?
  • So what if some cows have mildly low blood calcium?  They look healthy and normal. 
  • What are the preferred treatment options for mildly low blood calcium levels?
  • What groups of cows are at risk of low blood calcium levels upon freshening?

For the answers to these question and much more please go to:

production_health_low-blood-calcium-05-20-13.shtml

Meet Your NODPA State Representatives

NODPA started in February 2001 at a summit meeting of organic dairy producers in the Northeast after one processor arbitrarily lowered their farm gate price and farmers’ future pay price was threatened. These producers came together to discuss critical issues within the organic dairy industry including: maintaining a sustainable milk price; the National Organic Program; alternative milk markets; and building effective communication lines between fellow producers in the Northeast and beyond. NODPA is a grass roots organization of organic dairy producers with minimal bureaucracy and a transparent and open decision making process open to all those interested in the future of organic dairy. NODPA has remained true to its original goal and is now a membership organization structured as a 501C5 trade group and is governed by organic dairy producers who meet regularly by conference call and annually in-person as either Board members or State Representatives. NODPA has a very active and committed Board and team of State Representatives that work together with NODPA staff to fulfill the mission of the organization.

In a previous issue of NODPA we profiled the current Board members and below are the State Representatives all of whom donate their time to fulfill NODPA’s mission. Any organic dairy farmer who wishes to become a state representative or just be involved in conference calls and NODPA discussions should call NODPA president, Liz Baldwin – 315-324-6926. For the full article:

in_NODPA_state-reps_052013.shtml

National Organic Standards Board meeting in Portland, Oregon, April 9 -11, 2013

The meeting of the National Organic Standards Board, which occurs twice a year, provided a public forum for the organic community to weigh in on issues concerning organic production and processing. The controversial and much discussed petition that tetracycline be put back on the National List and the existing expiration date of October 21, 2014 be removed attracted a great deal of public attention and comment at the meeting. Before and during the meeting there were much maneuvering and discussions to reach a compromise because of the serious effect that a ban may have on farmers who are using it now and may have no alternatives for fire blight. There were many articulate statements by all the Board members as they grappled with the tension between consumer expectations, scientific knowledge and the practicality of organic production The Crops Subcommittee proposed that the antibiotic be removed at a later date and this proposal was rejected by the whole of the NOSB. As the regulation stands right now, use of tetracycline (oxytet is the name growers know) will be prohibited after October 21, 2014. For all the details on what was voted on and some insight into the way the NOSB dealt with the controversy, please go to:

in_nosb_meeting_notes_052013.shtml

The 13th Annual NODPA Field Days, September 26 & 27, 2013 at Mansfield, PA

NODPA’s 13th annual Field Days’ program, Organic Dairy: Innovative Strategies to Stay Profitable is coming together and promises to have activities and educational sessions that will interest everyone. This year’s event will be at the Mansfield Hose Company Banquet Hall in Mansfield, PA on Thursday and Friday, September 26th and 27th.

This year, NODPA is partnering with Holistic Management International (HMI) to create an agenda that provides the tools for organic dairy farm families to enhance the health, productivity and profitability of their land and family while effectively and significantly increasing annual profits. Sessions will be on New Trends in Cover Crop Cocktails; a ‘Live Odairy’ Q & A session with Veterinarians Susan Beal and Cindy Lankenau; and policy update and news from Washington DC.  Following lunch and the time-honored door prize drawings, the afternoon will be devoted to the on-farm experimental work of growing Sprouted Grains as Fodder. Roman Stoltzfoos, Andrew Dykstra and John Stoltzfus will share their experiences.  

Feed Price Update

Current market prices for feed have changed little in the last few months. What everyone is watching is the weather and the world demand for corn. With a new seemingly steady price for non-organic corn of between $6-7 per bushel there will not be many transitioning to organic production. With the number of organic egg layers jumping by 3 million between July 2011 (5 million) and April 2013 (8.190 million), the demand for organic feed from organic poultry folks is dominating the market. Future prices for next fall show no signs of dropping so dairy producers should be budgeting for similar price of organic corn for 2014, and if the weather is not amenable they will go higher. For more details please go to:

feed_prices_05-20-13.shtml

-- Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director  

NODPA NEWS & NOTES

The Latest Feed Prices

Current market prices for feed have changed little in the last few months. What everyone is watching is the weather and the world demand for corn. With a new seemingly steady price for non-organic corn of between $6-7 per bushel there will not be many transitioning to organic production. With the number of organic egg layers jumping by 3 million between July 2011 (5 million) and April 2013 (8.190 million), the demand for organic feed from organic poultry folks is dominating the market. Future prices for next fall show no signs of dropping so dairy producers should be budgeting for similar price of organic corn for 2014, and if the weather is not amenable they will go higher. For more details please go to:

feed_prices_05-20-13.shtml

Join Our
ODAIRY ListServ

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.

Upcoming Events

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

New Classified Ads:

Click here for the latest classifieds.

Support NODPA

Please support NODPA with your very valuable dollars so we can continue our great work moving forward. Learn how you can support NODPA today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


www.nodpa.com | email: info@nodpa.com