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Say No to Setting Up
An Organic Check-Off

Say Yes to permanently exempting all organically certified operations from paying into federal mandatory check-off programs

Tell the USDA: You Support the Organic Exemption from Federal Check-off Programs – Comment by February 17th 2015

The 2014 Farm Bill allows all organic farmers and businesses to pull assessed monies out of conventional check-off programs. In December, the USDA issued proposed rules to set this process up. 

A strong response from organic farmers and businesses will let the USDA know this exemption is important to organic agriculture, and these rules need to be put in place as quickly as possible. The instructions below will guide you on how to submit comments.  Here are talking points:

  • These rules give the same opportunity to farms and businesses with split operations (organic and non-organic) as 100% organic operations were granted in the 2002 Farm Bill to request a refund on organic sales assessments.  This change corrects unequal treatment of organic certificate holders set by the 2002 Farm Bill.
  • This exemption will provide a level playing field. It allows organically certified farmers and handlers to use check-off monies to benefit their own operations and future, similar to the benefit that non-organic operations receive from being assessed under the Commodity Promotion Law. 
  • Organics is less than 5% of agricultural production and requires very specific research and marketing.  Farmers and handlers carry out a high percentage of direct-to-consumer and other marketing, or conduct research on their own farms.
  • The exemption process should be as efficient as possible. Information on certified organic operations is now available in real time so certificate holders should only need to apply once for an exemption from the check-off, not every year.  Commodity boards can be informed by the NOP when the operation loses its organic certification.
  • Organics should have a blanket exemption from all Research and Promotion programs.
  • For Marketing Orders, the organic exemption should be the marketing portion average of all AMS Marketing Orders.

Comments must be postmarked no later than February 17, 2015. They can be electronically submitted at:!documentDetail;

For more information please go to:


Seeking Farmers for
Farm Succession Project

Is planning for retirement and the future of your farm on your “to do” list? Would you be willing to share your ideas and concerns about your farm transition? If you are a senior operator, the junior generation, or a beginning organic dairy farmer with ideas and concerns about how organic dairies will be passed on please read on.

The farm succession conundrum
Of all the daily challenges that organic dairy farmers grapple with, farm succession is not usually on the list. It’s easier to put off planning for that unsettled future, and to avoid uncomfortable subjects like death and taxes. But we all know that the future of the farm is a concern for most farmers. A new project led by Land For Good (LFG) will give the organic farm transition “conundrum” focused attention and support. LFG is a New England nonprofit organization that specializes in farm access and transfer. Its organic farm succession project will investigate organic dairy farmers’ unique dilemmas and opportunities in transition planning. Supported by grants from Organic Valley’s Farmers Advocating for Organics Fund and the Clif Bar Family Foundation, LFG will hold discussion groups and conduct interviews with organic dairy farmers across New England to develop better strategies to help farmers address farm succession. To read more, click here.

and Treating Pneumonia

Hue Karreman starts his article with the best common sense, and least expensive, way of preventing pneumonia (and many other respiratory complaints), “Yes! Fresh air and dry bedding make for healthy animals.” This time of year, with very variable weather patterns and stress on housing, the problems with maintaining a healthy herd, especially among young stock, is always an immediate concern for livestock producers. For a comprehensive article on preventing and treating pneumonia, click here.

Dr. Hubert Karreman Presents: A series of
classes on
bovine health

On Tues March 10th and Wednesday March 11th, Dr. Hubert Karreman will be teaching his third class on in-depth health care strategies for organic dairy cows at the Rodale Institute. It is a two-day class from 9am-5pm. Participants will be in the classroom in the mornings and in the afternoon will be working hands-on with the cows, right next door at our neighbor's 65 cow certified organic dairy farm. The class is filling up so make your reservations soon. For more details and to sign up, click here.

For more details, please be in touch with Hubert Karreman, VMD, Adjunct Veterinarian at Rodale Institute, 717-405-8137.

Nodpa E-News
February 9, 2015

Recent 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. We heard from Dr. Hue Karreman about the long expected death of Jerry Brunetti, who contributed so much to the growth of organics. On the NODPA website we have many pictures of Jerry at work and at play, especially in the photo-archives of our Field Days. He will be missed. For a reflection on his life, please click here.

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 but there was plenty of good advice on how to deal with mastitis. There was also a spirited discussion on methionine role in organic production plus suggestions on how to work with certifiers in making decisions on what can be used in organic livestock production.

Also, Odairy is a great place to advertise animals for sale and organic feed that is available.

To read a summary of Odairy activities, please go to the article by Liz Bawden, Organic Dairy Farmer and NODPA President. You can also join the active and informative email list serve clicking here.

Upcoming Events

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

New Classified Ads:

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