Click the Archives navigation at left to browse through the dozens of organic dairy farms we've profiled over the years.
Organic Dairy Farms
Added September 13 2016. “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:
Added July 26, 2016. “In 2011, I attended a local grazing conference,” said Amish dairyman Andrew Coblentz. “Cliff Hawbaker, a Pennsylvania farmer, spoke about once a day (OAD) milking. I went home and told my wife that it might work in some neck of the woods, but not here. Ten months later I was ready to give it a try. I was tired of being tired.”
Andrew, his wife Mary Ellen, and their four children, Adam (8), Elias (6), Amelia (3), and Elliana (9 months) make their home at Hills-N-Valley Farm in the town of Walnut Creek, Ohio. The town is located in the rolling hills of Holmes County in the east central region of the state. Etched in one of their barns is the year 1889, a testament to the rich agricultural history of the region, which began when Ohio’s first permanent settler, a Pennsylvania Amish farmer named Jonas Stutzman, traveled to the region in 1809 and put down his roots. To read more about this farm please go to:
Added May 23, 2016. It’s a spring day on Jeff and Kathy Bragg’s Rainbow Valley Farm; a quintessential late April day with a sparkling blue sky and temperatures hovering in the mid-60’s. The patio wind chimes sing and birds chatter, oblivious to the hub of economy and industry that surrounds this peaceful abode. A CROPP producer, Rainbow Valley is one of the largest organic dairy farms in the state of Maine, milking roughly 160 cows, primarily Holstein and Jersey/Holstein crosses with some traces of Normande, and more recently German Fleckvieh. The average yearly production per cow hovers around 18,000 pounds. Certified organic in 2004 during the second major wave of transition to organic production, the Braggs manage nearly 1000 acres of open land. To read the complete article please go to:
Added March 28, 2016. “Picture a four year old girl and her 6 year old brother--back in the days before IPad, cell phones, video games, and even TV in most homes. Farm life activities were riding tricycles in the driveway, playing with our nearby cousins, going fishing in the river, building forts from the piles of fence posts, and wishing there were trees on our lawn so we could play in the leaves. Luckily, our grandparents lived on the other side of the road and they did have nice, big trees with lots of leaves. So my brother and I talked with our grandfather and he made us a deal—if we raked and bagged up the leaves, we could take them over to our lawn—and we only had to pay him 5 cents a bag of leaves for that privilege. That was my first lesson in economics and business.” To read more of Kathie Arnold’s 2016 “Farmer of the Year” presentation adapted for a NODPA News article please go to:
Featured Farm: Lynd Family Farm
Geordie and Emery Lynd, Walden, VT
Added January 27, 2016. In June of 2010, barely in their mid-20’s, George and Emery Lynd closed on the tuckered out 290 acre farm during the midst of the downward economic plunge that impelled organic dairy consumers back to the conventional cooler. The farm, located in Caledonia County, in the hamlet of Walden, is perched at 1700 feet on the north facing side of an open hill exposed to the wrath of the Northeast Kingdom’s notoriously long winters and fierce gales. To read how they have survived and grown, please go to:
KT Organic Farms, Kewaskum, WI
Added November 24, 2015. Born in 1965, Kevin has always called Kewaskum home. “Farming is what I always wanted to do although I could have done a lot of things. I was the 9th oldest of out ten kids and a lot of it was timing,” he explained. “By the time I graduated from high school I had twenty heifers. In 1985 at age twenty I rented the farm from my dad who passed away seven months later. It was kind of scary the first year,” Kevin chuckled, “but I did a lot of learning on my own and from those around me and was fortunate to have an uncle farming down the road. There certainly are a lot more resources available now to beginning farmers.” In 1988, Kevin completed the purchase of the 120- acre family farm which now bears the simple name of K.T. Organic Farms. Kevin began shipping organic milk to CROPP in 1993, and since 2007 has been farming the land with his wife Lynn. To read more about how they dealt with the twists and turns of fate, family disasters and are now working on transferring the farm to a team of brothers go to:
Alfred State College offers Unique
Blend of Organic Dairy Education
Added September 2015. 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:Featured Farm: Tillotson's family farm,
Added July 20, 2015. The Tillotsons own 625 acres, 500 tillable, and rent another 460; a significant parcel of land to manage but necessary for their larger than typical organic herd which totals 300 milkers plus replacements and young stock. There has been significant movement away from what was originally a herd of American Holsteins towards New Zealand Fresian and Jersey genetics yielding a smaller framed cow with an average weight of 1200 pounds. Milk production per cow averages 15,000 pounds per year. Linebacks make up about a fifth of the herd and Paul noted that, “they are excellent grazers with good longevity and do well on our low grain ration,” which averages 8 pounds per cow year round. Paul Tillotson of Cottonwood Farms, LLC, commented jovially about farming with his son Jason. “I think every farmer would love to farm with their son or daughter. Jason is 36 now and has been farming with me for 18 years. He grew up with it and it’s what he wanted to do even though we tried to push him out to go to college.”
To view the article, click here.Featured Farm: Matthew and Rebekah Fendry’s family farm: Sunny Morning Holsteins, Strum, WI
Added May 25, 2015. Sunny Morning Holsteins, located in the rolling, hilly terrain about 15 miles south of Eau Claire, WI, is owned and operated by first generation Organic Valley dairy producers Matt (33 years old) and Beka (27 years old) Fendry. “We bought the farm as a turn-key operation with about 75 cows and started in a 60-cow tie-stall barn which was too small for their cows, the ventilation was poor, and the feeding situation was tough as we had to dump feed with a small machine that fit in the feed alley and clean everything out by hand. The manure system was not very functional, and the single 8 parlor drove us nuts because you’d get a batch of cows in and then stand and wait,” said Beka. To read more about how they turned the farm around and what they are doing for the future, click here.The Nathan and Kristine Weaver Family’s Grünen Aue Farm, Canastota, New York
Added March 10, 2015. 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:
Tide Mill Organics, Eastern Maine
Added January, 2015. Although his father and uncle sold the dairy herd in the 1970’s, eighth generation farmer Aaron Bell of Tide Mill Organics, knew that he wanted to be a dairyman. It was the stories from family members and the community that inspired Aaron to revive the dairy in the early 2000’s when HP Hood was aggressively seeking raw milk for its entrance into the organic milk sector, having purchased the right to bottle fluid milk under the Stonyfield Farm name. Situated in the far edge of eastern Maine in Washington County, Tide Mill Organics is a stone’s throw from the Canadian border and the ocean. The farm is recognized as a National Bicentennial Farm, a rare claim and especially so in this circumstance since not only is the land still in the Bell family but it is still commercially farmed. In 2000, when Aaron returned to the farm post-college with his wife Carly Delsignore, the farm was 1600 acres- 50 acres of fields, 20-30 acres of marginal but improvable land and the rest wooded. To read more of Sonja Heyck-Merlin article on this family farm, please go to:
Feature Farm: Hamilton Heights & Emerald Valley Dairy Farms - South Central PA
Added November 17, 2014. “Wealth and production are two different things – our focus is on wealth; we milk acres, not cows”, says Cliff Hawbaker. He and his wife Maggie own and operate two organic, no-grain dairy farms in South Central Pennsylvania. The home dairy, Hamilton Heights Dairy Farm in Franklin County, has been in Cliff’s family for 6 generations. The Emerald Valley Farm, in Cumberland County, was purchased in 2005 and is currently being managed by Cliff’s nephew, Daniel Lehman. They farm just over 800 acres of which 126 acres are rented and 674 are owned. Crops grown include 270 acres of corn silage (under contract) and 625 acres of mixed grass hay and pasture. For more on the Farm:
Northwood Farm, Wisconsin
Added September 8, 2014. Located about 80 miles Northwest of Madison, is Northwood Farm, an organic dairy and beef farm in the town of Wonewoc, Wisconsin. Owned and operated by Jim and Rebecca Goodman the farm consists of 450 acres of which 240 is owned and 210 is rented. Though organic milk is the primary income from the farm, they also sell organically raised beef, replacement dairy stock, dairy bulls for breeding stock, and some organic forages and grains. The beef they raise (12-15 steer every year) is marketed at the famous Dane County Farmers Market in Madison, Wisconsin. For more on Jim and Rebecca and their farming experiences please go to:
Feature Farm -Sheen Dairy farm
Added July, 2014. Located in Gouverneur, NY, this small farm has managed to keep their farming enterprise manageable for a team of two, while paying attention to important details, winning them National Milk Quality awards in 2011 and 2013. Learn more about their farm and what they do to produce such a high quality product.
Feature Farm - Dharma Lea Farm
Added May, 2014. Dharma Lea Farm is located in Sharon Springs, NY and owned by Paul and Phyllis Van Amburgh. The farm consists of 730 acres of which 233 are owned and 500 are rented. The 233 acre home farm is used primarily for pasture and some hay and the remaining 500 acres is rented land used for hay production. They are the first of a growing number of dairy farms to start shipping milk to Maple Hill Creamery, a 100% grass-fed organic dairy production company that is in its 5th year of production. Maple Hill Creamery uses only whole, unhomogenized milk, and markets European-style yogurt and drinkable yogurt. They also raise grass fed beef, sell hay, sell surplus dairy stock, and offer their services as consultants and speakers. With training in Holistic Management, Paul and Phyllis have recently been selected by the Allan Savory Institute to be one of the first ‘Self-Sustaining Savory Hubs’ in the world, empowering people to use properly managed livestock to heal the land. For more on how they transition to full time farming and their production practices please go to:
Stonewall Farm, Keene, NH
Added March, 2014. Stonewall Farm is a nonprofit working farm and educational center whose mission is to connect people to the land and the role of local agriculture in their lives. They operate a 30-cow certified organic dairy, which has been in operation for over 125 consecutive years (under various owners) and is the oldest and only working dairy farm in Keene, NH. Set in a scenic valley, it consists of 70 acres of pasture, 15 acres of crops/gardens, and 30+ acres of wetlands, woods and hiking trails. The dairy farm has been certified organic since 2007 using the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food as their certifier. Their motivations for getting certified was for the increased income they would receive for their fluid milk, the anticipated improvements in their dairy herd health, and the environmental advantages. To read the whole article please go to:
Featured Farm: Kimball Brook Farm, VT
Added January 24, 2014. Cheryl and JD Devos own one of the larger organic dairy farms in Vermont, Kimball Brook Farm, located in North Ferrisburg, which has been organic since 2005. In March, 2008, the NODPA Newsletter featured their farm, (www.nodpa.com/kimballfarmvt.shtml ) which shared their transition experience, animal housing, herd health, and pasture management practices. Cheryl and JD had been shipping organic milk for three years and although they were very grateful for their market, they were starting to notice that the pay price for their milk was not keeping up with the rising costs of production. It was not in their nature to sit idly by and watch their margin continue to shrink, so they started to actively look into ways in which they could add value to their milk and earn a higher profit for their product. Read more about how they started their own creamery and are breaking even after only 2 years:
Organic Dairy Farming for Quality of Life
Added November 18, 2013. “When our oldest son was born we were living on a farm that was conventionally managed. At eight months old he was diagnosed with cancer. While no actual reason was ever given for him getting cancer we always questioned whether the fact that the well for the farm, which was in the middle of a cornfield, had something to do with it. This along with many other life observations, have led to organic farming.” This is how Doug Morse describes his family’s decision to farm organically. The Morse family own 496 acres of which 120 is tillable, 100 is permanent pasture, and most of the remainder is woods. They rent a little over 200 acres pasture our heifers on 50 acres of rented land. For more of their story in their own words, please go to:
First Certified Organic Dairy Farm:
Diversifying to include the next generation
Added September 11, 2013. Engelbert Farms is located in Nichols, NY and is owned and operated by Kevin and Lisa Engelbert and their sons Joe and John. They farm about 1800 acres of which 600 are owned, 600 are in permanent pasture and 550– 600 acres are used for growing corn, soybeans, wheat and oats. They milk about 120 cows in a closed herd with average milk production per cow at 14,000 lbs/year. The organic dairy accounts for only a portion of the products produced and marketed from the farm. Other products they grow and market include: certified organic beef, pork, veal, livestock feed, a variety of cheeses, and vegetables. On top of all that, this farm family makes a point to get off the farm and to stay involved in their local community and they are very active when it comes to agricultural issues on both a local and national scale. For the complete article on this influential and pioneering farm family please go to:
No-Grain, Fodder-Fed Organic Dairy: B-A-Blessing Farm, Whitesville, NY
Added July, 2013. John and Tammy Stoltzfus own and operate B-A-Blessing Farm, and farm with their 3 sons in Whitesville, NY. They own 500 acres of which 300 are tillable and 200 are managed as rotationally grazed pasture. A lot of positive change has been taking place at B-A-Blessing farm - especially in the past few years. Family members are returning to the farm, and they have been fine-tuning a new feeding system that is proving to keep their cows in excellent health and body condition, rewarding them with reduced feed costs, and earning them a much needed (and deserved) farm profit. Read more at:
Featured Farm: Dykstra Farms, Burlington, WA
Added May 2013. Andrew Dykstra and his family have a certified organic vegetable, seed and dairy farm located in Burlington, Washington (Skagit County). Their farm consists of about 600 acres of which 500 are tillable. Transitioning to organic production happened progressively over time. Andrew’s father, Douwe, purchased the farm in 1972 and in 1981 he started making changes that steered the farm towards organic production. The first step was replacing commercial fertilizer with compost in 1989, followed by the decision to manage all the land organically. In 1992 they stopped using antibiotics on their cows, and in 2004, being one of the first organic farms in their county to transition to organic dairy, they started shipping organic milk to Organic Valley. Today, Andrew and his wife, Sandy, farm with their sons Chris and Charlie. They milk a closed herd of 260 Holsteins, with annual production of 15,000 lbs per cow. Milk quality and components average 191,000 SCC, 3.85% butterfat, 3.03% protein, and 5.61% other solids. For the full story:
Making the Transition from One Dairy to the Next
Added March 18, 2013. For the last 34 years Kress and Tammy Simpson have run a small 180-acre (72-ha) seasonal grass-based dairy (KTS Farm) in the Elk Run Watershed of Rutland Township in Tioga County. Through the vagaries of weather and markets they have built a successful business that they are now ready to transition. While their son and daughter have helped with milking chores growing up, they are now exploring other learning opportunities and Kress took steps to transition the farm business to a younger farmer that has been involved in the business. For more information please go to:
Indian Stream Farm
Added January 22, 2013. John and Cindy-Lou Amey operate Indian Stream Farm located in an historic settlement in Northwestern New Hampshire - once known as The Republic of Indian Stream. Indian Stream Farm has been in the Amey family for over 100 years. John has had Cindy-Lou by his side for the past 10 years. The farm today consists of 1,550 acres of which 300 acres are tillable, and 150 acres are used for pasture. For more information please go to: ff_january_2013.shtml
No Grain, Grass-Intensive Seasonal Dairying
Added November 26, 2012. Rob and Pam Moore live in Nichols, NY, which is located south-central, along the Pennsylvania border. They operate a spring seasonal organic dairy farm on 300 acres of owned and 40 acres of rented land, with additional acreage certified for hay. Over the years they have fine-tuned their grazing system and ‘simplified’ their operation so that it runs efficiently with minimal input, labor, and machinery. Though their operation looks simple on the surface, behind that veil is a complex farm that is cycling nutrients, growing and maintaining healthy livestock, and producing high quality organic milk with minimal labor requirements and only a couple pieces of equipment. For more on Moore Farms please click here.
Featured Farms: Southern VT Farmers
Host Tours for 2012 Field Days
Added September 10, 2012. The Vermont organic dairy farm tours for the 2012 NODPA Field Days are quite different in land, farming styles, facilities, and histories. Franklin Farm in Guilford, VT and Miller Dairy in Vernon, VT show the many differences there are in certified organic dairy farms across the country. They vary in the number of milking cows by as much as 200 cows and they have different ownership, management and production methods. Read more about these two different, yet similar family farms in the article written by Willie Gibson, NOFA Vermont Dairy & Livestock Farm Advisor. Learn more at:
Kimvale Farm, Falconer, NY
Added July 16, 2012. When Steve and Cathy Kimball decided to transition their 5th generation New York dairy farm to organic production in 2006, they knew that they would have to make a lot of changes. They were milking 350 cows, pushing them for production, and growing a fair amount of crops using conventional fertilizers and herbicides. Learn more about Kimvale Farm that was homesteaded in 1847 and their challenges in transitioning under the 80-20 rule and the prospects for the future. For more on Kimvale Farm please click here.
Feature Farm: Grass based, no grain Grazing Acres Farm, Chetek, WI
Added May 8, 2012. With almost 20 years of farming and investing resources into their land base, grass-based dairy genetics, and growing a competent workforce, Cheyenne and Katy Christianson have made a name for themselves in the organic dairy community. The Christiansons operate a grass-based, no-grain organic dairy consisting of 325 acres (280 is owned, 40 rented); 240 tillable acres are designated for pasture and hay with about 15 acres in ‘wooded pasture’. Their farm has grown from a nutrient-poor conventionally managed farm to a vibrant biological system that is practically self-sufficient, needing only a little seed and fertilizer for their forage system.
For more on Cheyenne and Katy’s operation please go to: http://www.nodpa.com/ff_may_2012.shtml
Corse Farm Dairy, Whitingham, VT
Added March, 2012. Leon and Linda Corse are the fifth generation to farm on the Corse Farm Dairy in Whitingham, southern Vermont. Leon’s great, great grandfather purchased the 379 acre farm in 1868 and today there are up to 60 cows milked year round with the milk sold to Organic Valley. The herd is mostly Holstein, but includes some Jersey crosses and Red & Whites as well. Production runs about 16-17,000 pounds per cow for the year or about 55 pounds per cow per day. To learn more about the farm and the family operation please go to:
Featured Farm: Jerry Dell Farm, NY
Added January, 2012. Jerry Dell Farm, certified by NOFA NY, milks 500 cows on two farms, and manages 2000 acres of pasture, hay and crop land in Dryden, NY with a recently acquired second farm in Freeville, NY – just 4 miles away. Owned and operated as a family farm by Vaughn and Sue Sherman, sons Jeremy & Ryan, and nephews Troy & Kenny. Jerry Dell Farm has been certified organic since 2000; they are currently shipping to Organic Valley, but will be switching to Upstate Niagara starting in May, 2012. To learn more about this organic family farm please go to http://www.nodpa.com/ff_january_2012.shtml.
Organic farming on Martha's Vineyard: You better believe it!
Added November, 2011. One of the new categories of diversified farms that have sprung up close to urban areas, Grey Barn and Farm is owned by Eric and Molly Glasgow, who have a mixed operation that includes 19 Dutch Belted dairy cows which they milk once a day. For more information, click here.
Steve Morrison's Clovercrest Farm, Charleston, ME
by Lisa McCrory
Added July 2011. MORE >
Francis and Susan Thicke Radiance Dairy, Fairfield, Iowa
Following Principles of Ecology from Land Management to Renewable Energy Systems
By Lisa McCrory, NODPA News & Web Editor
Added September, 2011. MORE >
Three generations of the Conant family are involved with the day-to-day operations of the Pineville Farm in central Vermont
Added May 16, 2011. Randolph Center is in just about the geographical center of Vermont, where the Green Mountains dictate the agricultural landscape. Traveling over dirt roads towards the end of April’s mud season, there are still plenty of snow patches up on this ridge where Pineville Farm sits. Here the Conant family takes great pride in their herd of registered Ayreshire and Jersey cows, whose milk is shipped to Horizon Organic. MORE >
NODPA Feature Farm: A 5-generation grass-based organic dairy expands to beef, poultry & value-added
Added March 14, 2011. The Stricker family has been farming their land for 5 generations and for the past 10 years, they have been expanding from wholesale dairy to grass-fed beef, poultry, eggs, value added dairy products, and raw milk. For their story and great pictures, click here.
Feature Farm: Fournier Farms, Swanton, Vermont
After steep learning curve, Vermont farm makes successful transition to organic
Added January 17, 2011. Prior to transitioning to organic production in 2004, Earl Fournier and his family milked a high producing Holstein herd and managed them in confinement. The third generation on this farm, Fournier Farms, Chapter S-Corp, is located on the Campbell Bay Road, which runs along the Mississquoi Bay in northern Vermont.
Feature Farm: Pleasantview Farm, Circleville, Ohio, Perry Clutts & Family
Added November, 2010: Grain to grass to organic dairy – a farm with a history and a future. More >
The Burroughs Family Farm: Denair, CA
FEATURE FARM, ADDED MAY 17, 2010: The Burroughs family has been farming in the San Joaquin Valley of California since 1896. Today, their ranch features two certified organic dairies, an almond farm, a pastured egg business ... and much more. Learn more >
Twin Oaks Dairy, LLC: Truxton, NY
Added March 9, 2010. In this interview with Kathie Arnold, we highlight the pasture portion of Twin Oaks Dairy as well as Kathie’s tireless efforts in making sure that the USDA NOP gave us what we were asking for: a level playing field, true use of pasture as a significant portion of the ruminant diet, and measurable standards that all certified farms – both large and small – must adhere to.
Triple D Acres: New Sharon, Maine:
John and Marcia Donald, Jeff Donald and Frank Donald Jr.
Added January 11, 2010. Hard work and some basic principles to manage their farm efficiently and profitably have provided Triple D Acres with consistent high quality forages, superior milk, and Maine’s 2009 Outstanding Farm of the Year by New England Green Pastures Program.
Scholten Family Farm: Weybridge, Vermont
Added December 3, 2009. Roger and Patty Scholten started organic production two and a half years ago, and are already producing delicious artisanal cheeses. Learn more >
Maedke Family Dairy: Coleman, Wisconsin
Added September 14, 2009. John Maedke & his wife Bonnie found the transition to organic production, which they completed in December 2002, easier than they expected. Their greatest challenge? Getting acclimated to the grazing management requirements. MORE >
Hails Family Farm: Processing, Local Sales ... & Wholesale
Added July 1, 2009. Talk about a diversified operation. Paul and Joyce Hail of Wyalusing, PA have a grade A processing plant on farm, make cheese, butter, yogurt and cream cheese, run a small CSA, and sell to local and national markets. MORE >
Hall & Breen, LLC
Added May, 2009. A lifestyle, a livelihood, and a father/daughter partnership with a future. More >
Organic Dairy, Environmentalism and Community Action:
Added March 2009. Meet John Kinsman, a Wisconsin dairy farmer who has been stewarding his land for over 50 years. MORE >