NODPA E-Newsletter is delivered monthly to subscribers, and contains news and resources for organic dairy producers in the Northeast.
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Alfred State College offers Unique
Blend of Organic Dairy Education

Nearly ten years ago, Alfred Sate College chose a path of operating both organic and conventional dairies to create a unique learning environment among dairy colleges.  Farm manager Virginia Chamberlain has been managing the farm since the fall of 2013.  In a college farm setting, one must remember, the student – teacher needs come first when operating a farm laboratory. 
The farm is located on 1100 acres of land, 550 acres of which are tillable, and 62 are dedicated to pasture.  The remainder of the land near campus is woodlands.  Much of the tillable acreage is located in Groveland, New York and was “inherited” from the New York State Prison System when they disbanded their farming operations. For more information please go to:


The 15th Annual NODPA Field Days:

Organic Dairy: Preparing for the Next Generation
October 1 & 2, 2015
BW’s Restaurant and Banquet Facility, Davis Countryside Meadows, 11070 Perry Road, Pavilion, NY 585-584-8450,

In just a few weeks, the 15th Annual NODPA Field Days will take place in Pavilion, NY, an active farming community south of Rochester, NY. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to sign up and make your travel plans for two days of education, on-farm tours and workshops, socializing, and a terrific cookout at Letchworth State Park.

NODPA Field Days kicks off with a tour of Cottonwood Farms, the family farm of the Tillotson family, Pavilion, NY, where they are all about looking toward and embracing the future. There, you will see their robotic milking system, automated calf feeding system, compost heifer barn, sophisticated manure management system, and hear about their successful generational transfer. Following the full-morning farm tour, attendees will gather at BJ’s Restaurant and Banquet Facility, a 5-minute drive from the Tillotson’s farm, for meeting registration and lunch.

To download a brochure:
Full details and on-line registration:

Is Robotics Part of the Organic Dairy Farm of the Future? 

According to Rick Kershbergen, Extension Professor, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, “There are many reasons robotics may play a role in the small family farm of the future. When I visit dairy farms, I always try and make an appraisal of how content and “happy” the cows are in herd. How cows react to people or distractions are good indicators of how they are treated and their level of contentment. The higher the percentage of cows that are lying down chewing their cud, or grazing in the pasture or eating at the feed bunk is an indicator of comfort. What I noticed in my travels was the calm nature of the cows on robotic farms. These cows are never “pushed” by people, so walking through some of the barns can be quite a challenge, as the cows don’t get out of the way when you walk by!”

To hear Rick’s full presentation come to the NODPA Field Days and to read more of his article please go to:


All Certified Organic Farmers & Handlers Are Eligible for Reimbursement for up to 75% of Certification Costs 

SIGN UP TODAY - Deadline: September 30, 2015!

Certified farmers, handlers and processors in all 50 United States (and some territories) are eligible for 75% of certification fees (up to $750) for each certified scope. The refund is available for 4 certification scopes: crops, livestock, handling (processing) and wild crops. Certified entities could receive up to $3,000 for all 4 scopes.

  • You must apply every year in your state for the refund
  • There is plenty of money to fund this – if you are turned away or limited to 1 scope, ask again, or contact your certifier
  • Watch for application deadlines in your state – but rules are now more flexible, so if you think you have missed the deadline, ask for help or contact NOC

More Information about the Program:

  • All organic certified entities – farmers, handlers/processors – are eligible receive cost share reimbursement of 75% of the actual cost paid to your certifier up to a maximum of $750 per certification category for each year that you certify.
  • To qualify, applicants must be certified organic by a USDA-accredited certifying agency.
  • You are eligible to receive a payment for each category you are certified under.  If you make one payment for all, your state will simply divide the total payment and give you the total of 75% (up to $750) for each.  This may result in a reimbursement more than $750.  The maximum any one entity can receive is $3000 ($750 X 4)
  • The 4 eligible Scope/categories:  Crops, Livestock, Processing/Handling, and Wild Harvest
  • This reimbursement is annual, just like your certification payment.  You must re-apply each year.
  • Ask your certifier – they have the information on how you can apply.  Most programs are run through your State Department of Agriculture, but some are administered through a certifier.
  • Because the federal government runs on a fiscal year October 1 through September 30, and state deadlines may vary, your deadlines may get confusing – Make sure you apply for each year you are certified (and have paid), and this should get worked out at the state level.  
  • This is a partial reimbursement for money you have already paid to comply with this federal program; it is not a subsidy or a handout.

Contact your Certifier or your State Department of Agriculture. Procedures and application deadlines may differ in each state. If you are not getting the information you need or are turned away or limited by your state, please contact the National Organic Coalition at

Organic Farmers: Weigh in on National Organic Survey

National policies, issues and institutions affect all organic farmers, yet we lack a strong presence to ensure that the certified organic farmers’ viewpoint, needs and concerns are represented in the national arena.  To address this situation, several organic farming organizations have been discussing building a more effective and clear voice for certified organic farmers. We are proud of certified organic’s growth and growing prominence in the marketplace, and believe now is the time that farmers, who are at the core of this success, establish a focused and strong voice.  

To ensure we are going about this the right way, and to make certain this direction is desired by organic farmers and ranchers, we need YOUR feedback! Please complete this short 10 minute survey to tell us your thoughts about a national effort to organize organic farmers, and to identify issues important to you. Please contact Kate Mendenhall, kate.mendenhall
, 585-944-2503 for more information and how to be part of the larger discussion. Paper surveys are available to those without access to the web.

Help USDA AMS decide if there is support for an Organic Check-Off – register your opposition now

NODPA, along with at least eight other organizations, submitted partial proposals to the USDA AMS on or before July 20th on a proposal for an organic check-off. NODPA’s position in submitting the partial proposal was to ensure that there would be a democratic process in any decision on establishing an organic check-off, that all certificate holders would have a vote on such an important issue. OTA’s proposal would have limited voting rights to the largest one third of certified farmers. We do not know how USDA AMS will use the partial proposals and how they will be incorporated into the OTA proposal when they publish the proposal(s) to form an organic check-off on the Federal Register for public comment. Hopefully, USDA will recognize the importance of allowing all members of the “organic commodity” the right to vote on establishing an organic check-off.

NODPA is AGAINST ANY ORGANIC CHECK-OFF and will continue to organize against it, but OTA has purchased the right to submit a proposal so we need to ensure any process is democratic. USDA AMS has questioned the support for OTA proposal so please register your opposition to a check-off (if you haven’t already done so) by going to the No Organic Checkoff site or write directly to Ed Maltby, NODPA, 30 Keets Road, Deerfield, MA 01342.

Nodpa E-News
September 10, 2015

Pay and Feed
Price Update
September 2015

Total retail sales for organic fluid milk for June 2015 show no increase on June 2014 sales, but sales of non-fat products continue to drop while whole milk continues to increase. We have no data on total organic milk production so it’s not possible to estimate if this lack of growth in fluid sales is the result of consumer demand or lack of supply.

Retailers are being shorted as organic milk is being diverted to manufacturing use as demand for a consistent supply of organic ingredients increases dramatically with rising interest in non-fluid organic products. Organic processors also have many different plant-based beverages that compete in the dairy case for space. Processors shorting retailers on dairy products may mean increased facing/shelf space for those products and less for dairy beverages. We also have no data on organic imports and how many manufacturers are sourcing organic whey and milk powders, and at what price. Recent equivalency agreements have opened the door to increased imports from Europe, which will require more policing to ensure that none come from livestock treated with antibiotics, which is allowable under some European certifiers. To read more and see updated charts, please click here.

Let there be light on pork checkoffs

Farm and Food File by Alan Guebert
To read more of Alan’s article on the long fight for transparency and honesty in the Pork Checkoff please click here.

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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