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Access to pasture discussions in DC; pay price update

Welcome to NODPA’ October electronic newsletter. We are well into the harvest season and the first heavy frosts are just around the corner ... and plenty is happening, as always. Will the proposed pasture rule be out on the Federal Register by the end of the month? Will we like it? Will it be too prescriptive or business as usual? The USDA NOP now has a full complement of staff with the appointment of Ruihong Guo as Branch Chief for the Compliance & Enforcement Branch and will be in a much better position to implement and enforce any final rule.

Meetings in Washington, DC: At a recent series of meetings in DC, the National Organic Coalition, Horizon Organic and NODPA met with officials at the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA) to educate them about the composition of the organic dairy industry (SBA plays a role in any Federal rulemaking). We also visited with the Executive Office on Management and Budgets and the USDA NOP to ensure they knew the importance of the publication of a proposed access to pasture rule. We reminded them all that the whole organic dairy industry supports the following recommended clarification of the Access to Pasture standards:

  1. Organic dairy livestock over 6 months of age must graze on pasture during the months of the year when pasture can provide edible forage.
  2. The grazed feed must provide significant intake for all milking-age organic dairy cows. At a minimum, an average of 30% of the dry matter intake each year must come from grazed pasture during the region’s growing season, which will be no less than 120 days per year.
  3. Temporary exemption from pasture may be allowed because of:
    • Conditions under which the health, safety, or well-being of the animal could be jeopardized, including to restore the health of an individual animal or to prevent the spread of disease from an infected animal to other animals.
    • Short term inclement weather.
    • Temporary conditions which pose a risk to soil and water quality.

In no case will temporary confinement and exemption from this pasture standard be allowed as a continuous production system.

The measurement of the consumption of dry matter from grazed pasture will be calculated based on the daily dry matter intake from grazing averaged over the total time period grazed per year

Pay Price: No news of any increase in pay price although Organic Valley had promised a $1 increase in October 2008. All the other processors are talking about plans for the New Year! I hope those plans recognize that organic milk cannot be turned on as needed. All predictions are for a shortage in supply by as much as 15% early in 2009, as few new producers are transitioning and current producers are cutting back on feeding grain, while selling heifers and young stock to pay bills. Ever tried to extend a farm line of credit in this financial market, or would you even want to!

Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director

News, Stories & Events

NY Field Days: NODPA’s 8th Annual Field Days Event and Annual Producer Meeting
From 5 pm Sunday, October 26th, to noon, Tuesday October 28th Holiday Inn - Auburn, 75 North Street, Auburn, NY 13021 (Finger Lakes Region)

The event will be free to all organic dairy producers and we will be able to discuss the proposed pasture rule and hear Clark Driftmier speak about the dynamics of marketing milk in his talk: “Threat or opportunity?” on Monday morning, 10/27 at 9:15 am. He will speak about the future of store brand organic milk and the need for unity in the organic milk community; attendees will continue the morning discussing issues with organic dairy producers from across the country; visit Lakeview Farm in the afternoon; take part in the NODPA annual meeting and discuss issues critical to the future survival of organic dairy producers, plus plenty of time to visit the trade show, socialize, network and more.

Learn more about the Field Days.
Ready to register now? Click here to register online.

Understanding Organics: Livestock
Management and Health Conference

Holiday Inn, Auburn, NY October 28-30, 2008.

Special 'Producer' Admission fee, which will be as follows:

3-day conference: $225 before October 20; $250 after October 20
Day one only: $80; $90 after Oct 20
Day two only: $ 110; $120 after Oct 20
Day three only: $40; $45 after Oct 20
Field Trip, day three: $25; $30 after Oct 20

Scholarships are available to Professionals (up to 10) and we will start to offer remaining scholarships to producers by mid-October. Full Scholarship RATE is $175 per person for the full 3 days.

The long list of speakers are nationally known and considered the cream of the crop when it comes to organic dairy production. The conference is approved for 11 hours ARPAS credits (Nutritionists and Animal Scientists) and 7 CCA Credits (Certified Crop Advisors). Veterinarians can also earn CE credits - contact Dr Linda Tikofsky to learn more.

Special Incentive: If a consultant/professional comes with a producer/client, we will discount the admission by 15% for each registrant!

This is a continuation of the 2007 conferences held in NY and NH. This 3-day conference is designed to educate extension personnel, veterinarians, NRCS agents and other professionals working with organic and transitioning livestock producers. For more information, contact Lisa McCrory,, phone: 802-234-5524 or Linda Tikofsky,, phone: 607-255-8202.


Days Photos

The organic dairy community gave Arden Landis a great send-off with the pasture walk at his farm on September 18. The weather was great, the land beautiful and over 100 attendees appreciated the work that Arden and Caroline have put into building an excellent grazing operation. There will be a more complete article in the next NODPA News, but you can scroll through photos of the event.

Sustainable Agriculture Label?

Do we need a Sustainable Agriculture label and what will the effect be on organic? Is it just another watering down of standards to further confuse consumers and retail buyers? What will it do for the family farm? Read Sam Fromartz‘s article, New “Sustainable” Standards Raise Concerns.

Grain Prices

With 16% organic grain selling for $610 delivered in the Northeast, where is the grain market headed? Will a killing frost hold off long enough to maximize yield? The organic soybean harvest got off to a slow start and organic grain and feedstuff prices were mostly steady with moderate demand and offerings. There is a lot of talking and inquiring going on but no one really wanting to sell much yet. Click here for more.

Fall Events

Something for everyone this fall, from pasture walks to grazing workshops to field days to a variety of organic dairy and livestock conferences!
Click here for details.

Lots of new classifieds!

Farm for longterm lease in Danby, VT. Check it out.

Lots of new certified organic hay available
, round and square bales, 1st and second cutting. Check it out.

OR, go to the classifieds main page. | email: