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The Nathan and Kristine Weaver Family’s Grünen Aue Farm, Canastota, New York

Grünen Aue Farm of Canastota, New York, a seasonal all-grass, no-grain dairy, takes its name from a section of Psalm 23: “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me besides the still waters.” Grünen Aue, which translates to green pastures in the Amish tongue, is owned and operated by Nathan and Kristine Weaver and family. The farm is located about 35 miles east of Syracuse and is comprised of 132 acres, with about one half of the acreage in pasture/hay ground.  Adjoining the farm are another roughly 60 acres of rented ground. Their pastures are mostly native species.  They have increased their herd size from 30 milkers to about 55 since 2006 and plan to level off at 60. Excluding calf milk and milk diverted for home use, their annual production per cow is about 9,000 pounds with an average SCC of 250,000, 5.0 butterfat, 3.4 protein and 5.65 other solids.  Their milk goes to Organic Valley’s grass-milk pool which was newly established in their region in October of 2014. For the full article, please go to:


NODPA Regional Round-Up

Want to know what’s happening or what is important in the organic dairy industry – ask those that farm. Producers from Maine to Pennsylvania to Wisconsin give some insights into what is important to them during this long winter of 2015.  Perhaps Leon Corse from Vermont best sums up the feelings of most producers, and consumers, this year in the northeast, “We are really looking forward to spring.” For the complete article please go to:


Feed and Pay Prices: Pay price
moves up slowly as sales increase
and shortages continue

USDA AMS reports increase in retail sales of organic fluid milk in 2014 were up by 9.2% over sales in 2013, and total U.S. organic milk products’ sales as a percentage of total conventional milk products’ sales has trended up annually, from 1.92% in 2006 to 5.2% in 2014. This increase in demand has seen shortages on the shelves and a small increase in base pay price. How do you increase the volume of organic milk, feed or any other raw material – raise the price that producers are paid.  Over 60% of organic grains that are used in the US are imported and now we have imported organic cheese and milk powder plus imported beef manufactured trim from three continents co-mingled to make generically branded organic ground beef. The reason for the importation is partly due to availability and partly on price. The availability is great for organic ground beef from organic cull cows available in the US, but it is easier and cheaper to import beef manufacture trim from Australia. If the organic pay price for grains were higher, there would be more grain producers transitioning to organic. Consumers are paying more for organic because they believe the products are better for them and that they benefit their environment. With imports driving the expansion of organics and either driving down pay prices or preventing prices from rising enough to sustain US organic producers, it is unlikely we will see a growth in organic production, especially as the early pioneers of organic processing sell out to large conglomerates who only have one bottom line – profits for their shareholders. For more on pay price and charts on the growth of real organic sales, please go to:


Book Review

A Holistic Vet’s Prescription for a Healthy Herd, by Richard J Holliday,
DVM and Jim Helfter

By Geneva Perkins, Contributing Writer

Our world today is bombarded with new drugs, new herbicides and pesticides, new soil amendments that promise to cure, kill and repair all the woes and miseries that afflict us and the livestock that we depend upon for our livelihood.  Richard “Doc” Holliday and Jim Helfter draw from their years of combined experience in treating and studying animals to provide an introduction to holistic livestock care.

The key word here is holistic.  By studying the change in feeding habits of the bison roaming hundreds of acres with a veritable smorgasbord of nutrients to the modern confined living conditions with limited or no choice of food, the authors show the effects of imbalanced nutrition on livestock health and productivity.  The book builds the case that conventional care focuses on treatment of specific symptoms and prevention of specific illnesses, while holistic treatment can involve a variety of approaches, including nutrition and alternative therapy.  While acknowledging that sometimes the use of antibiotics is necessary, their experience has shown that a healthy, well cared for animal is more likely to stay healthy even when exposed to disease.

The book is broken down into three sections: Holistic Animal Health and Nutrition, Trace Minerals and Free-Choice Mineral Programs, and Holistic Herd Management. To read the complete review by Geneva Perkins please click here.

Preparing for Spring:
A Pre-Turnout Checklist

By Susan Beal, DVM

Sitting here, listening to the wind roaring through the hemlock grove behind my wee house, with the temperature solidly below zero and several feet of snow piled up, even in the protected timber, it seems odd to be writing about spring turnout.  While we know that the land is still percolating under the snow cover, and we see the lengthening days, on days like today it can be difficult to envision the perennial miracle of the return of grass.

If you’ve not already put some thought into it, this is a great time of year to jot down a few notes and make a checklist to ensure you’re ready for turnout.  That time will come quickly – and will be sooner for some than for others. Here in Pennsylvania, the differences between the northwestern and southeastern corners of the state are incredible – with turnout varying between late March and mid- May. Some graziers (primarily beef herds) have been able to extend their grazing season into late January (even here in the west central region). To read more of Susan’s idea and suggestions please go to:


Nodpa E-News
March 10, 2015

Webcast of U.S. Department of Agriculture Stakeholder Workshop on Coexistence

The USDA is hosting a Stakeholder Workshop on Coexistence on March 12th and 13th for a select group of folks they have identified as stakeholders, with an agenda that is very slanted to benefit the chemical companies, although they are responding to criticism about their choice of stakeholders by inviting producers a week before the event.  This is one of the most important issues of the day for all, not just organic farmers, that do not want their crops contaminated by genetically engineered genes. It is common sense and established legal practice that if your land, livestock or crops are contaminated by another entity, then that entity bears responsibility for paying for any damage – if your neighbor’s bull jumps the fence and impregnates your cows, the neighbor is responsible for any damage or financial hardship. GE crops are produced under license so the patent holder is responsible for any financial hardship, not your neighbor who is using it, since he/she is prevented from owning that seed by the patent holder. USDA has suggested that farmers having crop insurance may be a method to compensate for lost income from contamination, but it would be a difficult and probably expensive policy to underwrite and not appropriate for the situation. Chemical companies that hold the patent should be the ones that take out insurance to cover contamination caused by their product. It will be interesting to see what emerges from the workshop and whether any recommendations recognize the reality of the responsibility.
Webcast, as well as audio call-in, information is as follows:
DAY 1 - March 12, 2015 @ 8:30 a.m. ET
For Webcast Link,
Click Here

Dial-in: 1-888-621-9649 or 1-617-231-2734
Event ID: 419052
DAY 2 – March 13, 2015@8:30 a.m. ET
For Webcast Link,
Click Here
Dial-in: 1-888-621-9649 or 1-617-231-2734
Event ID: 419053

For dial-in participants, you may join the teleconference 5 minutes prior to the scheduled start. If you need technical support please call AT&T Connect Support at 1-888-796-6118. If you require a list of international dial-in numbers, click here.

Join Odairy

NODPA's 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.

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