NODPA E-Newsletter is delivered monthly to subscribers, and contains news and resources for organic dairy producers in the Northeast.
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Federal Mandated Checkoff:

No more procrastinating –
we need your comment now

Stop the organic check off program (a Tax) by commenting on the Proposed Rule before April 19th

The OTA’s proposed organic checkoff now translated into a Proposed Rule by USDA is impractical, invasive, bureaucratic, inequitable, undemocratic and ineffective. Comment now to stop the process and the historic division of the organic community. OTA must withdraw their divisive proposal now so we can all work together to protect and grow organic in these tough political times.

The following bulleted points highlight the problems with this rule and can be used in your comments: 

  • Tell USDA you will vote against the checkoff if there is a referendum.
  • One vote per certificate holder - Producers will have to pay a poll tax to qualify to vote – assess all certificate holders to give everyone a vote.
  • You have no confidence in the management, transparency and effectiveness of checkoff programs - putting the word “Organic” in the title of the program does not change the historic and well documented restrictive guidelines, heavy bureaucracy, and lack of accountability and cost of administration of these programs.
  • I think organic is the gold standard and want to say that – the checkoff will not be allowed to say it for me.
  • The method of assessment does not reflect the economics of organic family farms – the definition of organic inputs do not reflect organic production methods, which are based on feeding the soil and building the nutrient value of the soil to increase yield and profitability, not buying inputs.
  • The payment of assessment will not be equal and fair across the organic supply chain - Walmart will not pay any assessments – their co-packers will have to, which will drive down the price paid to producers as retailers have more leverage over price in the market.
  • USDA use of the term ‘de minimis quantity of the commodity’ to exclude 76% of organically certified producers and 12% of the dollar value of organic production is unacceptable.
  • I support the continuation of the exemption for organic producers and handlers that are part of a conventional checkoff – establishing an organic checkoff will end that exemption – I trust organic certificate holders to invest their own money in programs to promote agricultural research and a fair pay price for producers and handlers that will increase acreage under organic production.


Submit Online:  (link to Federal comment site)

Mail comments:
Promotion & Economics Div., Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Rm 1406-S, Stop 0244, Washington, D.C. 20250-0244

Fax comments: (202) 205-2800

For analysis on the organic checkoff, please go to:


For ideas on raising money for organic research, please go to:

Alternatives to a Check-off for generating research dollars 2017.pdf

Liana Hoodes blog on the organic checkoff:

Liana Hoodes checkoff Blog.pdf

For more on the organic checkoff:

Danone acquisition of WhiteWave
moves forward without Stonyfield

NODPA News, January 2017:

If Danone is required to sell off their subsidiary, Stonyfield Yogurt and retail milk brands, to satisfy the Justice Department approval of their acquisition of WhiteWave, Organic Valley Fresh or some similar CROPP joint venture would be ideally positioned to purchase the brand. This would expand their retail presence and their product mix while securing a market for their producers, particularly those in New England and the Northeast.”

From the DOJ Press release, 4/3/2017:

“The Department of Justice announced today that it will require Danone S.A. to divest Danone’s Stonyfield Farms business in order for Danone to proceed with its $12.5 billion acquisition of The WhiteWave Foods Company Inc. “The proposed acquisition would have blunted competition between the top two purchasers of raw organic milk in the Northeast and the producers of the three leading brands of organic milk in the United States,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “Today’s proposed settlement will ensure competitive marketplaces for both farmers in the northeast that sell raw organic milk and consumers who purchase fluid organic milk in stores nationwide.” 

In the NODPA News November 2016 issue, we did an in depth study and analysis of the proposed acquisition by Danone of White Wave. (in_danone-white-wave-111516.shtml) In that article and in conversations with the Department of Justice, industry leaders, investor groups and producers we laid out the problem and possible solutions to the reduction of competition between the two leading buyers and top brands in the markets for raw and fluid organic milk, potentially harming dairy farmers in the Northeast and U.S. consumers of fluid organic milk. Working with the Cornucopia Institute and others, the case was made on the effect of the acquisition resulting in a landmark decision about the effect on producers and consumers of the consolidation of the organic industry.  

In looking at the buyers for Stonyfield, Dean’s name has obviously been mentioned as has Uniliver (Ben & Jerry’s), General Mills, Aurora Dairy Group, Chobani and PepsiCo as it is a valuable entry point into organic dairy with an established market and a dedicated supply.

Any prospective buyer will need to identify what supply agreements they intend to enter into once they own Stonyfield. The supply agreement with CROPP has approximately three years to run and the assumption is that any buyer will continue to honor that agreement. In the best possible case, in the future Stonyfield will expand its own pool of milk and increase the number of buyers in the Northeast to three rather than the two, which will be the best interpretation of the DOJ’s ruling. Stonyfield also has the option of working with other smaller buyers and Dairy Marketing Services to source their long term supply. A second option will be to continue with CROPP as their main supplier and maintain the status–quo for the foreseeable future. Whatever way it goes, the DOJ ruling is a good solution for organic dairy producers as it is an opportunity to expand competition for organic farmgate milk and deprive Danone/WhiteWave from any intimidation of CROPP by holding supply contracts as leverage for their cooperation on the supply side and in the organic consumer market. 

For the full DOJ press release please go to:

Dairy Succession Efforts
get Boost from Grant

Help is available for dairy farmers! With support from the Keep Local Farms Fund of the New England Dairy Promotion Board, Land For Good is offering farm transfer planning and succession advising to commercial, cow milk dairy farms at reduced or no cost, for a limited time. Land For Good is a nonprofit organization providing land access, tenure, and transfer services throughout New England. We maintain a network of state-based Field Agents who work with farmers through a customized, personalized, team-based approach to farm succession and transfer planning. We can:

  • Provide information and resources to get started
  • Find appropriate advisors and coordinate your team
  • Help you navigate your farm transfer planning process.

For more information, visit our website at, contact us at, or call 603-357-1600.

Recent Odairy Discussions

By Liz Baldwin – NODPA President

A producer asked the group for suggestions to control lice in his herd.  Several farmers suggested feeding Agri-Dynamics’ “Flies Be Gone’. Other recommendations included Crystal Creek’s No-Fly, Ectophyte, Sulphur powder, powdered tobacco, and PyGanic.  It should be noted that there was some confusion over whether PyGanic is still allowed for use on livestock; different certifiers may have different interpretations.  So check with your certifier.  One person on the list quoted a NYS IPM Guide for Organic Dairies stating, “PyGanic is the most effective OMRI-approved pesticide available for use against lice in organic production.”  In all the external treatments, producers were reminded that there must be a second treatment, 10 to 14 days after the first, to kill the newly hatched lice. For more excerpts from the ODairy listserve please go to:


Join the active and informative email list serve by going to:   

Join Odairy

The ODairy email list serve hosts robust discussions on many different issues, some practical, some on policy, some on politics and some just exchanging news on the organic community. 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.  Also, Odairy is a great place to advertise animals for sale and organic feed that is available.

To join the active and informative email list serv, or to visit ODairy's archive, clicking here.

Upcoming Events

Check out our comprehensive listing of upcoming conferences, workshops and other events. Click here for details.

New Classified Ads:

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Support NODPA

Please support NODPA with your very valuable dollars so we can continue our great work moving forward. Learn how you can support NODPA today.

April 11, 2017

Save the Date
for the 2017 NODPA Field Days

2017 NODPA Field Days, September 28 & 29, 2017 at the Truxton Community Center, Truxton, NY

The NODPA Board of Directors and State Representatives have selected centrally located Truxton, NY as the site for the 17th Annual NODPA Field Days. This central New York location will be ideal driving distance for farmers coming from New England, New York and Pennsylvania.
This year’s NODPA Field Days, entitled Embracing Change in Organic Dairy, will focus on identifying and meeting head-on the challenges facing the organic dairy industry, from climate change’s impact on farming practices and soil health, to globalization and technology advances.  Neal Kinsey, international soil fertility expert, will be sharing his expertise with us. And Jack Rodenburg, founder of DairyLogix in Ontario, Canada. The DairyLogix team provides logical solutions on barn design for cow comfort and labor efficiency, including system design and management for robotic milking. Jack is also a certified CowSignals trainer and regularly conducts workshops on observing and analyzing cow behavior to assess herd management and housing. We are pleased to announce that Jack will be giving the interactive keynote presentation on CowSignals. We are planning to focus on the impact changing weather patterns are having on organic farming, and will look at the impact globalization is having on the organic dairy industry. More information will be available in the May NODPA News.  We are already planning the Farm Tour to Twin Oaks Dairy, the Truxton, NY-based dairy farm owned and operated by the Arnold family. Kirk Arnold, NODPA Board of Directors’ Vice President, and Kathie Arnold, his mother and a founding member of NODPA, will lead the tour of their farm and newly constructed 3-row, 136 freestall barn with a double 12 rapid exit parallel Delaval parlor. This new construction features Dairy Master alley scrapers, drive-through feeding with headlocks and slant bars, Lely Juno feed pusher robot, DCC waterbeds, automated curtains by Seneca Dairy Systems, a 40x40 bedpack for special needs cows, insulated cathedral ceiling, ventilation chimneys, and a 57 kW solar system. As with all of the NODPA Field Days farm tours, this one promises to be informative and full of innovative practices. Also new this year, we will have an optional farm tour on Thursday morning, prior to the official start of the Field Days. The tour of Casey Farm, Apulia, NY will highlight their dairy but we will also hear how they’ve diversified by adding a mixed berry pick-your-own operation.

Opportunities to sponsor and support this event are available, along with trade show information, and we will be sending it out soon and posting it on our website shortly. Contact Nora Owens, at, or 413-772-0444, if you have questions, want to get involved or would like more information. So, get out your calendars and SAVE THE DATES for the 17th Annual NODPA Field Days, and look for full program information in the May NODPA News. 

From the Midwest Organic Dairy Producers Alliance

Bruce Drinkman - Treasurer

“Greetings to all. I hope this finds everyone in good health and spirit. Spring is trying very hard to make certain it stays. We have had a good winter in my area but spring is always a welcome sight. By the time most of you read this, you should be well on your way into the planting season. If farming was as easy as most think it is we would have it made. One of the things I have been focusing on this year is trying to be more involved with the issues that are affecting my neighborhood and way of life. I encourage all of you to make some time to get involved. It is the only way that we, as farmers, can be certain that we get our message out to the public. The past election was proof of the disconnect between rural and urban in this country. We as farmers have to do our part to be available and tell our story to the urban people. They do truly love it when they are talking to a real farmer. Make their day, share your story. We can't go on with others filling in the blanks for us. We have too much to lose.”

For the complete article please go to: