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NODPA started in February 2001, at a summit meeting of organic dairy producers in the Northeast after one processor arbitrarily threatened to lower their farm gate price and farmers’ future pay price was in jeopardy. NODPA is the largest grass roots organization of organic dairy producers and has remained true to its original goal of advocating on behalf of producers, regardless of who they sold their milk to, for a sustainable pay price plus protect the integrity of the USDA Organic regulations.
NODPA is governed by organic dairy producers who meet regularly by conference call and annually in-person as either Board members or State Representatives. NODPA has a very active and committed Board and team of State Representatives that work together with NODPA staff to fulfill the mission of the organization. Click here for a contact list of staff and reps.
NODPA By Laws protect the integrity of the organization and ensure that organic dairy producers control the association rather than any one brand, advocacy group or individual. NODPA represents organic dairy producers in the east of the country and has an active involvement with its sister organizations in the midwest and the west which ensures that it can always remain connected to and controlled by its members.
The mission of the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance is to enable organic dairy family farmers, situated across an extensive area, to have informed discussion about matters critical to the well being of the organic dairy industry as a whole, with particular emphasis on:
NODPA started in February 2001, at a summit meeting of organic dairy producers in the Northeast after one processor arbitrarily lowered their farm gate price and farmers’ future pay price was threatened. These producers came together to discuss critical issues within the organic dairy industry including: maintaining a sustainable milk price; the National Organic Program; alternative milk markets; and building effective communication lines between fellow producers in the Northeast and beyond.
NODPA was originally housed within NOFA VT, which acted as a fiscal agent and assisted with administration while the organization grew. Initially, NODPA had a governing committee of state representatives made up of both organic dairy farmers and non–dairy supporters, with Lisa McCrory acting as a coordinator. In February 2004 Sarah Flack took over as coordinator and a NODPA board was set up. By laws were developed in July 2004 and planning started for an eventual separate legal entity, with discussions centering on developing some form of non-profit. Most of the funding for staff and activities in these early days came from the John Merck Fund with administration provided by NOFA VT, which worked with the board and state representatives to plan the transition to an independent organization, and ensured there was a healthy bank balance. In February 2005, Ed Maltby took over from Sarah, and NODPA set up its own administration and became a separate entity.
The NODPA by laws define members in the following way:
Section 1: Voting Members:
Section 2: Associate (non-voting) Members:
The fee for associate membership has been assessed by the board at $50 annually.
NODPA has a board of eight members which is made up of the executive officers plus representatives from each state. The board is elected by the state representatives on an annual basis. NODPA doesn’t yet have a process for appointing or electing representatives from the different states and we are continuously looking for farmers who are willing to commit some time to participate in the governance of NODPA as state representatives. All board members and state representatives must be voting members of NODPA in good standing which means they are certified organic dairy producers farming in the Northeast. NODPA also has provision for associate members who are not organically certified organic dairy farmers but wish to support the organization.
Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, Inc. is a Massachusetts nonprofit corporation and is exempt from federal taxes under section 501 (c) (5) which provides exemptions for labor, agricultural or horticultural organizations.
NODPA works very closely with Community Alliances of Interdependent Agriculture (CAIA) which is a 501 (c) (3) whose mission is to “enable people to create food and farming systems which improve and sustain ecological, economic and social health through systemic, community based, self-organizing governance.” By working closely with CAIA on different projects and activities, NODPA increases it ability to accept funds from foundations and supporters.