cows in field

Organic Dairy: What’s Next? The 22nd Annual NODPA Field Days, Sept. 29 & 30, 2022

VFW Post 7823, 530 Exchange St., Middlebury, VT 05753

For the first time in ten years, NODPA Field Days returns to Vermont. Have you made your travel plans yet? You don’t want to miss out on two farm tours, 7 different workshops especially pertinent to organic dairy farmers at this time of great change, a dynamic trade show, excellent food, and plenty of time to catch up with old friends and to make new ones. Even with COVID’s newest variant always in the background, we are planning a safe, healthy event and welcome you all.

While everyone across America seems to be impacted by the current high prices, supply side delays, and economic downturns, organic dairy farm families are even more impacted. Many farmers are asking how they can continue to feed grain with the astronomical price for it; they wonder what practices can be adjusted to keep their cows healthy without costing too much; and how do they figure out how to manage their farms based on the cost of production vs. what the current pay price is. It is, indeed, a challenging year.

At 8:30 am, Thursday, September 29th, we gather at Severy Farm, 6039 Route 30, Cornwall, VT 05753 for a tour of Nate Severy’s grass based organic dairy farm that he operates with his wife and two young children. Nate assumed full ownership of the farm business from his father in 2021. Please see the featured farm article about Severy Farm in this issue for more information.

Registration and lunch will follow at noon at the NODPA Field Days meeting site, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 7823 in Middlebury, and workshops start at 1:00 pm. In the first session, Heather Darby, Sara Ziegler, and Bill Kipp will address the impact of high grain and inputs’ costs, and offer strategies to help you maintain cow health and good production levels.

Producer meetings always circle around to how organic dairy farmers can achieve a sustainable pay price in order to support their families and farms. The next workshop examines a variety of models that might be employed to develop a sustainable pay price for organic dairy. A panel of experts with a depth of knowledge on these models will share their ideas and strategies, and participate in a discussion with the audience.

During the summer of 2021, 89 Horizon/Danone organic dairy producers had their contracts terminated, and in the past year, there’s been a lot of activity to address the situation. In this next session, those people actively involved will give a review and update on the current developments and initiatives that have grown out of this crisis.

Late Thursday afternoon, everyone gets a chance to relax a bit with the Social Hour and the opportunity to visit the trade show that will be full of the many businesses and organizations that support the organic dairy industry. It’s also a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones. The dinner banquet and NODPA’s Annual Meeting take place at 6:00 pm.

We are honored to have long-time organic dairy farmer and organic dairy advocate, Jim Goodman delivering the keynote presentation, “Now that I No Longer Milk Cows…” Jim, who is Board President of the National Family Farm Coalition, will offer his views and perspective on organic dairy, the regenerative label, current competition, and much more. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.

Friday starts early with the Producer-Only Meeting at 7:00 am, preceded by continental breakfast at 6:30 am. Breakfast will be available for all other attendees until 9:00 am when the educational program begins.

Friday morning’s workshops start out looking at the current costs of organic dairy production, with discussion from a farmer panel about how they make it work when the cost of production is higher than current pay price. NOFA-VT’s Farmer Services director, Jen Miller, will share results from her Cost of Production research that NODPA featured in the May 2022 NODPA
News. Sarah Flack, Independent Dairy Consultant, will facilitate the panel and add her insights on how farmers can manage with these conditions. There will be additional time for everyone to share their thoughts on this very important topic.

Closing out the morning session will be two veterinarians, Dr. Dayna Locitzer and Dr. Elizabeth Martens, heading up our ever popular session, Ask the Vets. This Q & A session will include time for audience participation and will accept written questions ahead of time.

The educational portion of the 22nd Annual NODPA Field Days closes with lunch and final announcements. Afterward, everyone will head over to Harrison’s Homegrown Organic Dairy Farm in nearby Addison where Melanie and Patrick Harrison will lead a tour of their farm. The Harrison’s are well known and respected for their forage management strategies, as well as many innovative practices.

Take Advantage of the Early Bird Rates!

Are you planning to come to the 22nd Annual NODPA Field Days? Would you like to save some money? You can take advantage of the Early Bird rates by registering no later than Saturday, September 17th. If it’s more convenient, you can pay when you arrive on-site but we must hear from you by the early bird rate deadline in order to get the money-saving rates. This year, with higher prices for everything, we’d like to be able to offer you 2015 NODPA Field Days prices! So, please register early! Details and the registration form are on this Field Days page, plus the print NODPA Field Days brochure will be in your mailbox in the next week.

Final Details

Once again, NODPA is keeping the costs of attending Field Days as low as possible, with free registration for all farmers and their families, and a minimal registration fee for non-farmers, with only the cost of meals passed along. We are grateful for our sponsors, supporters, and trade show participants for helping us keep the costs low, and for their ongoing support for NODPA’s work. Please be sure to visit all of them at the trade show!


There are many options for lodging in or near Middlebury. It is booking up fast as tourists plan for the fall leaf-peeking season, so you are encouraged to make plans now rather than waiting until September. A google search or your favorite travel site is the best place to start. These days, cancellation policies are pretty flexible, so keep that in mind if you aren’t totally sure you will be able to attend. In addition to hotels, inns, camping and RV sites, VRBO ( and Airbnb ( offer vacation rentals, ranging from single rooms to whole houses; there are even Yurts on organic farms offered!

Finally, due to the rise of the different variations of COVID, we encourage everyone to be vaccinated and boosted, and we will have masks and hand sanitizer on hand for anyone that prefers to use them, and we will follow all requirements from the state of Vermont.

We hope to see you at the 22nd Annual NODPA Field Days in Vermont on September 29th and 30th. Please contact Nora Owens, NODPA Field Days Coordinator, if you have questions or to register early. Please call 413-772-0444, if you reach the voicemail, please leave a message, or email her at