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Wisconsin Farmer Andy Bures:
A Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship
Master's Perspective

“The farm is located in Antigo, Wisconsin which is 150 miles north of Madison. My grandpa bought the farm after World War II. My father bought it from him in the early 1960’s and then I bought it in 1999.  The farming operations have remained pretty similar over the generations. We’ve always grazed our cattle.
We own 150 acres on a dead end road with woods surrounding three sides of the farm. Another 90 acres are rented from neighbors. We milk around 45 Holsteins and have another 45 head of heifers.   Some of our larger cows have been crossed with Jerseys.  The hybrids seem a bit more hearty and aggressive on pasture.  Heifers are bull bred but we use AI on the milking herd. We added a milking parlor to our hip roof stanchion barn in 2005 and still use the barn for winter housing.   In 2013, we added an addition to the stanchion barn for more housing.” To read the complete interview with Andy Bures please go to:

September Featured Farm

Organic Milk Pay, Retail and Feed price update for September 2016

Following some months in 2015 when organic milk production seemed to have slowed, or even declined, 2016 has been a good year for growth in production. Recent efforts to increase numbers of organic dairy producers, by some processors, are now generating increased organic milk flows. NOFA-NY LLC is currently working with the largest group of transitioning farms since the rule change which mandated 100% organic feed for a full year to transition. They currently certify 312 dairy operations, 22 of which are grass-fed certified as well. Transition numbers are continually growing, with 55 farms in transition and an additional 13 farms looking to bring in organic animals to start shipping organic milk. Grass-fed is on the rise too, with nine farms pending certification through NOFA-NY. AMS reports total organic milk products’ retail sales for June 2016 of 217 million pounds, were up 6.7% from June 2015, and up 5.6% from January through June, compared with the same months of 2015. Total organic whole milk products retail fluid sales for June 2016, 78 million pounds, were up 16.2% compared with June last year and up 16.3% January through June compared with the same months of 2015. For the complete article please go to:

September feed and pay prices

Organic Checkoff Update

Letter from the No Organic Checkoff Coalition to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Opposing OTA’s most recent Proposal

Our petition opposing the organic checkoff now has 1762 signatures, more than OTA’s one supporting it. OTA’s slogan is that they can make the much-disparaged checkoff program work for organic as a once-in-a-lifetime multi-commodity program. The No Organic Checkoff Coalition, including 25 organic farmer organizations and businesses, will continue to monitor the progress of the USDA process. For more information please go to:

Portable Parlors, Robots & Challenges Managing Dairy Animal Flow in Grazing Systems

By Sarah Flack, Sarah Flack Consulting

“Managing a grazing system for dairy animals requires that they move from pasture to get milked, and then back to pasture multiple times each day. This requires more planning for lanes and fence locations than on a beef or sheep farm, where the herd is simply moved from one paddock to another and may not return to the barn during the entire grazing season.  Dairy grazing systems also require that the farm has enough pasture land within reasonable walking distance of the milking facility.  If the parlor can be portable, there is more flexibility on the location of the grazing land; but if the milking facility is in a fixed location, the grazing system design requires some careful planning in order for it to work well.” For the complete article please go to:

Portable parlors

And, don’t forget Sarah’s new book: The Art and Science of Grazing, How Grass Farmers Can Create Sustainable Systems for Healthy Animals and Farm Ecosystems.  Please go to:

Dealing with drought conditions in your forage production system

Rod Porter, Agronomist, Regional Coordinator – Kings AgriSeeds

“Low forage inventory as a result of drought conditions is good cause to implement defensive and offensive strategies in your production system.  First assess what your current forage inventories are and determine what your forage needs will be then implement appropriate steps.” For the rest of the article please go to:

drought and forage

Rollover Protection for Farm Tractor Operators

Tractor rollovers are the single deadliest type of injury incident on farms in the United States.

Tractor rollovers are the single deadliest type of injury incident on farms in the United States. The latest figures from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggest there are approximately 130 tractor rollover fatalities per year. NIOSH estimates that there are approximately 4.8 million tractors in use on U.S. farms; one-half of them are without rollover protection for the operator. For the full article please go to:

tractor rollovers

September 13, 2016

2016 Field Days

16th Annual NODPA Field Days September 29 & 30 in Chambersburg, PA

The 16th Annual NODPA Field Days is being held on September 29th and 30th at the Chambersburg Mennonite Church in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. There’s plenty of room so please let us know so we can plan for meals by either calling 413-772-0444 or emailing noraowens@

The title, The Future of Organic Dairy Farming: Regenerate, Renew, Refresh is all about looking at our organic dairy farms and how we are caring for the soil, the infrastructure, and our families. There will be tours of Cliff and Maggie Hawbaker’s farms, Hamilton Heights Farm and Emerald Valley Farm, and a bonus tour of the Trickling Springs Creamery plant on Thursday morning, before the start of Field Days workshops. 
Each year, the NODPA Field Days program has followed a familiar schedule but this year we are shaking things up a bit. We will open registration on Thursday morning at 8:30 am so that folks attending the optional tour of Trickling Springs Creamery plant will have plenty of time to register, get directions and learn about the tour policies. The small group tours will start at 9:00 am and as soon as each group has 10 participants, a new tour will begin, with the last 30-minute tour leaving at 10:00 am.
Unlike in past years, our first workshop will start before lunch, at 11:00 am. John Kempf, founder of Advanced Eco Agriculture and the evening’s keynote speaker, kicks off the NODPA Field Days educational program with a presentation called Managing for Milk Production per Acre, abouthow to manage forages and crop nutrition to produce high fat and energy content forage, even in a single growing season. John will be with us throughout the day and will speak again after our annual banquet dinner.
For the complete schedule and all the details of the NODPA Field Days please go to:

Field Days Overview

To register online, go to:

Online registration

To download a Field Days brochure, please go to:

Field Days Brochure

To see photos of previous Field Days please go to:

Field Days Galleries

For an article on the Field Days Keynote Speaker:

Field Days Keynote

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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