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Featured Farm: Faith In Grass
Peace Hollow Farm, Knoxville, MD

Myron and Janet Martin own and operate Peace Hollow Farm - a Knoxville, Maryland all-grass dairy.  Myron and Janet, both in their early 50’s, farm in Pleasant Valley- a mile wide valley in Washington County, Maryland, bound by the Appalachian Trail to the east, the Potomac River to the south, and Elk Ridge to the west. The home farm is 118 acres, a V-shaped property with the buildings situated at the narrow end. This ground serves as pasture for their 80-head of milk cows. In 2007, the Martins purchased a neighboring 100-acre farm where they raise their heifers and all their bull calves. 50 acres of the heifer/steer farm is used for grazing and 50 for stored forage. They rent an additional 60 acres of hay ground.  To read more about their low cost approach please go to:


Federal Mandated Organic Checkoff:

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

A federally mandated, USDA administered Research and Promotion Program (R&P) is not the right structure for raising research money to boost domestic organic production. The 1996 Act, under which the organic checkoff was made possible with the 2014 Farm Bill, was not designed as a multi-commodity checkoff to promote domestic production and research for a process based standard.

The OTA’s proposed organic checkoff now translated into a Proposed Rule by USDA is impractical, invasive, bureaucratic, inequitable, undemocratic and ineffective.

  • One vote per certificate holder - Producers will have to pay a poll tax to qualify to vote on establishing an organic checkoff and then have no effective say in how the money is spent.
  • The functioning of USDA checkoffs is never transparent and historically they have been badly managed.
  • Those that designed the method of assessment obviously had no idea about the economics of small to mid-size organic family farms.
  • Walmart will not pay any assessments – their co-packers might have to, which will drive down the price paid to producers.
  • USDA stretches the term ‘de minimis quantity of the commodity’ to include 76% of organically certified producers and 12% of the dollar value of organic production.
  • For those organic producers and handlers that are part of a conventional checkoff, they will have no choice as to paying into a checkoff because they will lose the exemption from all checkoffs once an organic checkoff is approved.


For analysis on the organic checkoff, please go to:


For more on the organic checkoff:

Is there a future in Organic Dairy?

There are many different reasons why producers enter organic dairy and each farm family has different priorities within their mission statement and family goals. A high priority for every producer is economic sustainability. A sustainable pay price is needed to keep all committed farm families in business and although not a ‘birth right,’ producers should have a ‘living wage’ just as other working folks have a minimum wage or are fairly compensated for their labor and capital investment. If that doesn’t happen we will have the same situation that exists in the conventional market, relying on larger operations that have the economies of scale and financial resources to sustain themselves with all the peaks and troughs of the market. While we are currently in one of those troughs for pay price and organic milk utilization created by oversupply, we need to look at historical data to analyze the potential for the future. The great long team work that Bob Parsons and his colleagues, including Lisa McCrory, have done over the last decade serves us well for managing our future better. Bob has created years of data that show the relationship between management and profitability, highlighting the higher costs of organic production that require higher pay prices (not premiums) to remain sustainable with a reasonable lifestyle.

To read in more detail Bob’s summary and analyses of the data please go to:

Organic Dairy Farm Profitability in 2015

Difficult Respiratory Cases in the
Bovine and their Treatment with Western Herbal Medicines

By Cynthia J. Lankenau, DVM

“Herbal medicines provide such a multi-pronged approach to disease that in these difficult to treat diseases, herbal medicine shines as the therapeutic modality.
Bovine Respiratory diseases initially presents as an acute viral invasion.  Energetically this can present as invading ‘Cold’ pathogen that creates severe stagnation.  If the animal has an underlying immune deficiency, a stressed animal from shipping or a calf with minimal colostrum, this can rapidly develop into significant phlegm, and more stagnation with then secondary heat; (translated as an initial viral infection, leading to a bacterial infection).”
To read all of Dr. Lankenau’s article, please go 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.

March 23, 2017

Feed and
Pay Prices

The dismal state of the organic market has many organic dairy and transitional producers questioning their future. Despite rising retail sales, admittedly only averaging 5.7% over all fat levels, we are in a supply. While this surplus is similar to the 2009 situation, there are different characteristics. Principally, the differences are the increase in sales of whole milk over non-fat products, the increased consumer popularity of Grassfed milk, the availability of organic processing capacity, and the increased volume of milk that has to be absorbed by a conventional market in surplus. With the surplus comes a drop in pay price and restrictions on volume, either voluntarily or, as is the case with CROPP, imposition of a $20 deduction per cwt for milk over the active quota. Producers’ responses will be to cut back on expansion plans, decrease cow numbers, rear fewer replacements, feed less grain and/or lengthen the calving dates. At the same time that producers are being asked to cut back production, the largest, vertically integrated organic dairy (Aurora Dairy) is actively expanding production and processing ability.  Manufacturers that require organic dairy ingredient are looking to source their own supply, and we have the brand leader of organic milk (WhiteWave/Horizon) being acquired by the brand leader of organic yogurt (Danone/ Stonyfield). The number of buyers of organic milk is shrinking rapidly and any leverage to affect their pay price that producers may have had in the past has disappeared.  A producer can’t move to another buyer if there are no active buyers in the region. Dairies cannot transition if there are no buyers looking for more milk.

For more on Feed and Pay price plus many charts of historical data, please go to:

Feed/Payprice March

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.

Planning for the educational program is just getting started but 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.

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.