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NODPA E-NEWSLETTER | September 12, 2011

NODPA’s Feature Farm: Francis and Susan Thicke’s Radiance Dairy, Fairfield, Iowa

Located in the Southeast quadrant of Iowa, Francis and Susan own and operate Radiance Dairy, a grass-based organic farm that follows ecological principles in the management of farmland & livestock, the utilization of renewable energy systems for their home and farm, and the production and marketing of their value added dairy products. The Thickes have been farming organically since 1975 …. Learn more >

Irene and post Irene flooding – some organizations that are helping

We pulled together an article in the September NODPA News giving our readers information on how they can help their fellow producers who were hard hit by Tropical Storm Irene. Since that article was published, there has been some serious flooding in New York and Pennsylvania, which has caused extensive damage to Kevin and Lisa Engelbert's farm in Nichols, NY, along with others. Our thoughts go out to all those affected by these forces of nature. The article, Hurricane Irene – ‘After the Storm: How can you help’ highlights a number of organizations that are raising money to assist our farmers in need. Learn more >

NODPA’s 2011 Field Days on September 29
and 30 at Cooperstown, New York

Tired of the rain, the floods, the high price of corn, endless paperwork, and processors that never listen? Then come to NODPA’s Field Days to be re-invigorated by excellent discussion, great food,  a great farm tour and wonderful company where a problem shared can be a problem solved.
The NODPA Field Days will be held at the Cooperstown Beaver Valley Cabins and Campsites, 138 Towers Road, Milford, NY 13807. The event starts in the morning on the 29th with a tour of Siobhan Griffin’s Raindance Farm in Schenevus, NY in the foothills of the Catskills where she milks 90 cows that graze on 200 acres. Troy Bishopp will be at the farm to show producers how to 'Read the Landscape.' Following lunch and registration at noon on Thursday, we will kick off the Field Days program with a panel discussion entitled, “Facts and Fiction: Demystifying Private Label Milk” at which Peter Miller, CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley, Northeast Regional Pool Manager, Kelly Shea, WhiteWave Foods, Vice President--Industry Relations & Organic Stewardship, and other invited industry professionals will discuss what we need to know about private label milk and whether it impacts pay price. We will host an Organic Pig Roast for our banquet and afterward will hear from Francis Thicke, our Keynote Speaker. A producer-only meeting will be held early Friday morning, and at 9 am, we will start the workshops with “Natural Gas Exploration: What impact will it have on Organic Certification?” with Lisa Engelbert, NOFA-NY organic certifier, James Northrup, energy expert, and Paul Allen, PA organic dairy farmer addressing the group. After a milk break there will be a panel discussion entitled “Advocacy Groups in the Organic Dairy Marketplace: Why they are important and necessary”. Panel members for this session include Liana Hoodes, National Organic Coalition’s Director; organic dairy farmer, Cornucopia Board member and past NOSB member, Kevin Engelbert; OTA Board member, WhiteWave Foods Vice President--Industry Relations & Organic Stewardship Kelly Shea, organic farmer and past candidate for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Francis Thicke. We have devoted the final workshop in the afternoon to a production based workshop entitled “Thinking-Man's Grazing: Learning How to Plan your Grazing for Profit, Production and Success.”

On Thursday afternoon, September 29, from 3-5:00 pm at the NODPA Field Days, there will be an Open Meeting , providing an opportunity for all attendees to discuss whatever issues they feel are important to the future of Organic Dairy and Organic in general. This is a great opportunity to discuss areas of interest around organic integrity, animal welfare, competency of certifiers, origin of livestock, Foundation For The Future and future direction for NODPA and FOOD Farmers. This discussion is open to everyone recognizing that we all need to work together to ensure the future of organic agriculture, whether we are producers, corn growers, suppliers, processors, consumers, advocates or regulators.
Don’t just complain – be part of the solution – see you at the Field Days.

Thanks to our Sponsors: Green Mountain Feeds, Horizon Organic, Lakeview Organic Gran, Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative, Organic Dairy Farmers Cooperative, Fertrell, MOSA, NOFA NY and PA Certified Organic. For more information and to register click here or call NODPA Event coordinator at 413-772-0444.

Private label milk- a scourge or a necessity

“While some laud private labels for making organics more accessible and increasing the overall appetite for natural foods, others criticize the grocery giants for profiting from the demand created by trailblazing organic brands. Either way, one thing is certain – if small organic producers are to flourish in this market, they have a fight ahead of them.”(Sara Stroud, The Organic Challenge, Sustainable Industries).
“Private Label is a growing business not without its controversies, challenges and benefits.  As a partnership strategy, it has evolved greatly since its first appearance as “retailer controlled” brands.  With Organic in particular, private label allows companies to partner with strategic retail customers, reach additional markets in times of oversupply and make organics more accessible.” Eric Newman, Vice President of Sales, Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative. Read more about Eric’s view of Private Label Milk.
Natural Gas Exploration and its Impact on Organic Agriculture 

Drilling a vertical well into a shale formation only draws the gas from the immediate proximity of the well, so though we have known of this natural gas deposit for years and years, getting to it has been a challenge – that is, until the introduction of a process known today as Hydraulic Fracturing or ‘Fracking’. Read more >

Organic community advocates or circular firing squad – why we need them and who benefits?

When you receive an action alert by email, a mailing with a request for response, or an email/text/facebook/twitter /US mail asking for money to “Protect the Integrity of Organics,” “Save the Sky from Falling,” “Push Back the Encroachment of Corporate America in Organics,” what is your response? Perhaps they will all end up in the recycling bin with a muttered comment of, “haven’t these ******* folks got better things to do?” or “they are only looking to get a salary twice my farming income,” or “organics doesn’t need this.” Read more and get to know your advocacy groups.

Monitoring and Planning Your Forage Grazing System

Want to make more money from grazing while increasing your plant diversity and satisfying those pesky access to pasture regulations? Learn how to “design your grass-based dairy operation to mimic nature’s ecology and rebuild the soil’s ecological capital” by reading this article by Troy Bishopp and coming to NODPA Field Days. Learn more >

-- Ed Maltby, NODPA Executive Director


NODPA’s 2011 Field Days on September 29
and 30 at Cooperstown, New York

Tired of the rain, the floods, the high price of corn, endless paperwork, and processors that never listen? Then come to NODPA’s Field Days to be re-invigorated by excellent discussion, great food,  a great farm tour and wonderful company where a problem shared can be a problem solved.

The NODPA Field Days will be held at the Cooperstown Beaver Valley Cabins and Campsites, 138 Towers Road, Milford, NY.

Click here to learn more >
Click here to register >

Feed Price Updates

Corn prices are exceeding 2008 levels and supply is increasingly tight as the non-organic price competes directly with organic. In many cases availability is more critical than price and producers need to be looking for alternatives to feeding grain in the form of season extenders as the quality of pelleted feed will vary as mills look for alternatives to the higher priced corn. The increase in price of small grains has varied and the price for soybeans has remained relatively stable because many food grade soybeans have been sold on the feed market due to lagging food grade demand. According to the recent crop production report, corn production is up four percent from 2010, soybeans are down eight percent from 2010, while wheat is down one percent from July's projections. Some organic grain farms are reportedly transitioning to non-GMO crops to increase yields and meet the overseas needs of consumers who now purchase more non-GMO than organic, due to the state of the global economy. This unpredictable situation may be aggravated by the recent de-certification of a large organic supplier in Canada and increased demand from large poultry operations.

Learn MORE >

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