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Joe and Toni Borgerding in the nursery.

Joe and Toni Borgerding and Family
Borg-way Farm, Belgrade, Minnesota

“I started washing eggs when I was six and driving tractors at eight,” said Joe Borgerding, a 61-year old Minnesotan organic farmer. He prepped cows for milking until he was old enough to reach the pipeline. By age 19, his father was ready to hand him the reins to the 360-acre farm located near Belgrade, a small town in the central part of the state. As the 10th child of 12 with 8 older sisters, Joe embraced the challenge. To read more please go to:


Organic Certification, from the
Inspector’s Perspective:
An Interview with Arden Landis

What are your thoughts on the certification process, especially from an inspector’s point of view?

“One of the things I have observed is that agencies make their money by the farmers paying them to certify them. If farmers find one agency provides better services than another that is where they go. Some agencies are very efficient at determining if specific products are allowed in organic production. Some have more tedious paper work.
 If I see one real problem in the whole process, it is that the agencies make their money off the farmers they certify. They don’t want to lose farmers. If a certifier is too tough, farmers find out and they will move from one agency to another. I don’t know how you’re going to get around this. It is just the reality of the situation.”

For the full article please go to:


Anatomy of a Wet Year:
Insights from New York Farmers

Key Findings

  • The 2017 heavy rainfalls and flooding impacted farms across New York State.
  • Crops grown on clayey soils suffered an estimated 53% loss in crop yield and crops grown on gravelly, sandy or siltier soils suffered estimated crop yield losses of 25% or less.
  • In addition to yield losses, 95% of farmers said the quality of their crop was negatively impacted.
  • 30% of farmers said they would have increased their drainage infrastructure, including adding tiling and drainage ditches, if they had known how wet 2017 would be.

A wet spring, followed by higher than average precipitation and heavy rainfall events (e.g. the heaviest 1% of all daily rainfall events) during the 2017 growing season (NRCC) led to saturated soils and flooding on many farms throughout New York State (NY). The frequency of heavy rainfall events have already increased by 71% in NY over the last half century (NCA 2014), and this trend is predicted to continue in the future (Wuebbles et al. 2014). Given this, and to get a sense of how farmers were affected by these conditions, as well as how they coped, we surveyed farmers across NY State throughout September of 2017.

For the full article by Shannan Sweet, David Wolfe, and Rebecca Benner please go to:


Paul and Maureen Knapp, Cobblestone Farm, Preble, NY

The NODPA listening Project:
Collecting the Voices of Organic Dairy

During the Annual NODPA Field Days last September, some producers felt that we needed a more direct approach to tell our story to consumers using social media.  So it was exciting to witness the creation of the NODPA Community Connection Committee, made up of NODPA members Liz Pickard, Annie Murray, and Sonja Heyck-Merlin. They have launched NODPA’s Listening Project where they will be capturing “Voices of Organic Dairy” on video and audio recordings.  These will be shared with the public through both NODPA’s and NOFA-NY’s Facebook pages, newsletters, and other social media platforms.  

The first recordings were made on March 6 at NOFA-NY’s Dairy and Field Crop Conference in Liverpool, NY.  Farmers were recorded in brief 3-minute clips, giving consumers an insight into our lives as organic dairy farmers. Read more about this project and some sampling of the quotes, please go to:


Join Odairy

The ODairy email list serve hosts robust discussions on many different issues, some practical, some on policy, some on politics and some just exchanging news on the organic community. ODairy is blessed by having so many committed veterinarians experienced in organic production who take an active part in the discussions on the list serve. There is no one way to solve a health problem in organic production.  Also, Odairy is a great place to advertise animals for sale and organic feed that is available.

To join the active and informative email list serv, or to visit ODairy's archive, clicking here.

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

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MARCH 27, 2018

Organic Milk Pay, Retail and Feed Prices

Sales of organic dairy fluid products in 2017 were flat compared to 2016. The average increase in sales in previous years had settled around 4% growth. However, total organic whole milk fluid sales for December 2017, 89 million pounds, were up 5.6 percent compared with December 2016, and up 6.2% annually compared with 2016. Unfortunately, total organic fluid sales for December 2017 were lower than December 2016. Total organic whole milk products sales for January 2018, 96 million pounds, were up 11.0 percent compared with January last year. Total organic milk products sales for January 2018, 234   million pounds, were up 2.3 percent compared with January 2017.

Producers report that base pay price in the Northeast is at $25 per hundredweight, and $21 in the West. Average farmgate pay price in the Northeast is $29.50 but will drop in the next few months with the spring deductions, even though the forecasted volumes are low for the ‘Spring Flush’. This compares to $36 per hundredweight in 2017. Upstate Niagara stands out as honoring its commitments to producers maintaining a pay price at around $35. The surplus of organic milk is now being more accurately described as a surplus of skim milk with a good demand for fat. Despite this surplus, the amount of organic product advertising in 2017 and 2018 has dropped extensively, and retail prices have increased in the last few months. This increase in retail price has resulted in a drop in producers’ share of the retail dollar down to 32%, the lowest since 2007.  

There are reports that CROPP will increase its payments for protein and fat this Fall to more accurately reflect market demand plus there are discussions of a cost-plus payments system for organic milk. Whose costs and how that is calculated is not yet known but it would fit in ideally to a form of margin insurance that is available to conventional producers but not to organic operations.

This data reflects the economic reality facing organic dairy producers across the country, with lower pay prices and producers losing their contracts. Reports from the Midwest are that smaller cooperatives and groups are losing their contracts to lower bids, especially for manufacturing milk, as competition increases and inventory of organic cheese grows. Some Midwest organic milk is being replaced by milk trucked from mega-dairies in Texas at prices that are lower than local organic milk despite trucking costs of up to   $5.00 per hundredweight. Processors with direct contracts with producers, for example Sorrento Lactalis, are reportedly dropping producers and seeking cheaper contracts. For the full report please go to:

Pay Price March 2018

SAVE THE DATE for the 18th Annual NODPA Field Days

The NODPA Board and State Representatives have announced that the 18th Annual NODPA Field Days will be held in Maryland for the first time. The 2-day NODPA Field Days will be held on September 27th and 28th in the Fredrick, Maryland area, although the specific location has not yet been identified. We are in the early stage of planning but are hoping to have two farm tours, and to learn much more about the opportunities and challenges of farming in the Mid-Atlantic region. Please stay tuned, there will be much more information in the May NODPA News.