cows in field

eOrganic Dairy: A Year in Review and What’s on Tap for 2012 by Debra Heleba, eOrganic Dairy Team Coordinator

A Year in Review and What’s on Tap for 2012

by Debra Heleba, eOrganic Dairy Team Coordinator

Added January 19, 2012. Over the past a couple of years, you may have heard about eOrganic. It's an online community of more than 700 ag service providers and farmers who are providing science-, experience-, and regulation-based certified organic information on the web at Our eOrganic Dairy Team is led by Drs. Heather Darby (University of Vermont Extension) and Cindy Daley (California State University—Chico). More than 60 farmers, agronomists, veterinarians, grazing and certification specialists, animal scientists, and other professionals are working together to publish peer-reviewed articles, videos, and webinars on a range of organic dairy topics.

In late 2010, the team received a multi-year USDA grant to continue our work. The grant is also helping us create two online courses and what we are calling "regional learning hubs," a way to blend online presentations with in-person audiences around the U.S. We are excited about the hubs because they can:

  1. provide a gathering place for farmers and service providers to view webinars together as co-learners;
  2. offer a way for farmers who do not have high-speed Internet to access the information;
  3. provide local support groups; and
  4. encourage folks to develop or adapt the information learned to their particular local conditions.

We were able to test our regional learning hub idea at the January 2011 Vermont Organic Dairy Producers Conference—we "webinar-ed" in Kathy Soder who, due to winter weather, was unable to travel to Vermont but was still able to give both of her presentations to our farmer attendees. We also traveled to NOFA-NY's organic dairy and field crop conference in November to broadcast live Heather and Cindy's "Soils for Healthy Organic Dairy Farms" presentation to virtual audience, as well as record the rest of the field crop presentations as an online conference proceedings. Check them out at: We are eager to offer more regional learning hubs in the new year—if you are interested in organizing one in your area, please let me know.

During 2011, we published several articles and videos related to the Pasture Rule. We videotaped farmer Kevin Jahnke as well as Drs. Guy Jodarski and Hue Karreman (thanks to MOSES Harriet Behar, and UVM's Amanda Gervais!)—stay tuned for those completed videos! We also offered the following webinars—you may view the recordings on the eOrganic website: or eOrganic's YouTube channel:

  • Shades of Green Dairy Farm Calculator, with Charles Benbrook, The Organic Center.
    Using Small Grains as Forages on Your Organic Dairy, with Heather Darby, University of Vermont Extension.
  • Fly Management in the Organic Dairy Pasture, with Donald Rutz and J. Keith Waldron, NYS IPM Program, Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Stockpiling Forages to Extend the Grazing Season on Your Organic Dairy, with Laura Paine, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer.

We are excited to offer more webinars in the new year! If you have a particular topic and/or speaker of interest to you, please let me know. Look for webinar and other program announcements—including the debut of our first online course later in 2012—in NODPA News and/or on the ODairy listserv.

Debra Heleba is the eOrganic Dairy Team Coordinator.
You can contact Debra by mail, phone or email:

Jeffords Hall, 63 Carrigan Drive, Burlington, Vermont 05405
Phone: 802.656.4046.