Featured Farm: Lynd Family Farm
Geordie and Emery Lynd, Walden, VT
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:
Organic Exemption from Check-offs
for all certified operations
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced at the end of 2015 that they will extend the organic farmer exemption from conventional commodity checkoffs to ALL organic farmers, effective February 29, 2016. Organic farmers are no longer required to pay into conventional checkoff promotion programs that promote conventional products directly competing with their organic products. This is a big win for the organic sector—checkoff programs are not a good match for independent organic farmers. Those farms that are already exempt from paying into their conventional check-offs do not have to re-apply as their exemption will continue. Those that have previously not applied for exemption will need to fill out a revised form AMS-15 (not yet available); submit that form to the commodity check-off they are currently paying into; wait up to thirty days for the check-off Board to approve the exemption or ask more questions; then work with their buyers to ensure that the check-off money is not taken out, or submit a request for reimbursement to the checkoff Board. This process has to be repeated annually. The big winners here will be the milk processing companies (including those large, vertically integrated dairies) that are currently paying into the fluid milk assessment of 20 cents per hundred pounds for Class 1 milk – they will save over $4.5 million per year in payments. For more information please go to:
Check-off’s are not inevitable
For those of you that assume once the OTA submitted their proposal for a check-off that it is inevitable, look at the experience of the Hardwood Checkoff:
The United States Department of Agriculture terminated the Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion, Research and Information Order program proposal, commonly called the Hardwood Checkoff, on Oct. 28, 2015.
The Hardwood Checkoff would have assessed wood mills of certain sizes in order to fund promotions for the hardwood industry, similar to the “Got Milk?” and “The Other White Meat” campaigns for the milk and pork industries.
The USDA terminated the proposal because of critical public comments, lingering and substantive questions and significant proposed modifications from key stakeholders.
For more information please go to:
-for-flooring-industry.html and look at the opponents website: http://www.nohardwoodcheckoff.com/.
Opposed to OTA’s proposed organic check off? If you are going to a meeting or conference this winter, download these handouts (EMBEDED LINK) and continue the education process, plus encourage folks to go to www.noorganiccheckoff.com
‘Baby, its Cold Outside’:
Watch out for Livestock!
This timely article by Juan P. Alvez, Pasture Technical Coordinator, Center for Sustainable Agriculture – UVM Extension, gives some important tips on how to keep livestock productive and healthy when we have extremes of weather. For the complete article please go to: