New "Organic" Money, New People in Washington Lead to Better Reporting on Organic Milk & Grain Prices
A lot is happening this fall with many changes within the National Organic Program and hopefully the publication of new and proposed rules that directly affect the future of organic dairy. The word in the USDA corridors is that everything has been waiting for the new Deputy Administrator so let’s open the dam and get the Final Access to Pasture Rule (with immediate implementation) and the Proposed Origin of Livestock Rule out the door, now that NOP has more money, staff and prestige.
With many of the milk companies starting to move towards paying producers based on how organic milk is utilized, it is encouraging that AMS is benefiting from an influx of “organic” money to increase and coordinate their organic milk reporting through the Dairy Market News. At the Expo East we met with the new “organic milk guy” at Dairy Market News, Eric Graf, and his colleague Rick Whipp. Eric was appointed some months ago to coordinate organic dairy information within Dairy Market News (www.marketnews.usda.gov) and he has a long history in dairy plus a personal preference for eating and drinking organic food. We had a great discussion around the need to have some more definitive data on the utilization of organic milk in all 4 classes, rather than just the fluid market, including monitoring the volumes of milk being diverted into the non-organic market.
With the current tracking of milk by the certification process and the necessary reporting required under the Federal Milk Marketing Order, there should be many ways to accumulate data and provide producers with more independent statistics. We restated NODPA’s position that organic store brand retail pricing be included in Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) survey of monthly pricing and that farmgate pay price information should be a lower priority because of the lack of a uniform system to determine pay price which would cause excessive variation in reporting. For our NODPA summary of pay-price and sales of organic milk, click here.
USDA Market News is finally catching up with NODPA! It has announced that it will soon be publishing a new report entitled “National Organic Grain and Feedstuffs.” The vision is to combine all organic prices USDA collects into one report to give users a transparent glimpse at the organic grain and feedstuffs market on a national level. For our grain price report, click here.
The Western Organic Dairy Producers (WODPA) has its annual conference on October 13 and 14 at Twin Falls, Idaho and features a great program, perhaps a speech by Mile McEvoy the new head of NOP plus a tour of the Horizon Organic Dairy for those producers who are attending the conference. For more information go to: www.wodpa.org
Washington DC News
Miles McEvoy will start his job as Deputy Administrator of the National Organic Program on October 1 as the NOP becomes an independent program area within AMS. In his announcement of the appointment, Secretary Vilsack noted that “Organically grown and marketed agricultural products are of key interest to the Obama Administration, and the NOP will be receiving increased funding and staffing in the new fiscal year.” (For a press release on Miles' appointment, click here.) We welcome Miles and thank him for his willingness to serve the organic community. Miles has a long history in organics and is well known for his excellent work. We look forward to his work to immediately implement our recommendations for the Access to Pasture Rule. The next NODPA News will feature an interview with him as he describes his priorities for the future of the NOP and how he will handle enforcement issues.
New NOSB members
USDA took the unusual and welcome step in publishing the list of new NOSB member soon after the deadline for applications. New members include Joe Dickson from WholeFoods, Jay Feldman, an environmentalist from Washington, D.C., currently Executive Director of Beyond Pesticides; John Foster, an organic handler from McMinnville, Ore.; Wendy Fulwider, an organic farmer from Viroqua, Wis.; and Annette Riherd, an organic fruit and vegetable farmer from Oologah, Okla. For more details, click here.
Next NOSB meeting
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is meeting Tuesday November 3 through Thursday November 5, 2009, at the WASHINGTON PLAZA HOTEL, 10 Thomas Circle, Washington DC 20005. The agenda and the recommendations are posted at the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Services website. Animal welfare, vaccines, excipients, chlorhexidine and Xylazine are part of the recommendations from the livestock committee.
There will be a Pre- NOSB Meeting Sponsored by National Organic Coalition and National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition on Monday, November 2, 2009 from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm at the Washington Plaza Hotel. Lunch is on your own -- snacks will be provided.
Thank you for all the wonderful contributions that have been coming in over the past month. Your support is important to us as it helps to cover NODPA’s operating costs including maintaining the NODPA website, NODPA’s monthly e-Newsletter, the Odairy discussion list, and the NODPA Newsletter. If you have not yet made a contribution to NODPA’s work, or know that it has been a while since your last membership renewal, please consider making a donation today. Click here to learn of all the ways that you can support NODPA’s work.
Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director
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GRAIN MARKET UPDATE
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ORGANIC MILK PAY PRICE UPDATE
New England pay price since 2006, trends in organic fluid milk sales for the past four years, and new data comparing conventional and organic prices. MORE >
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Several new ads for organic forage and grain added recently, plus a posting for a herdsman position in Western NY.