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NODPA Field Days Farm Tour:
Twin Oaks Dairy, Truxton, NY

Embracing Change in Organic Dairy:
The 17th Annual NODPA Field Days, September 28 & 29, 2017, Truxton Community Center, Truxton, NY

The 17th NODPA Field Days is just around the corner and you won’t want to miss this year’s meeting. There will be two farm tours and an educational program packed with internationally renowned speakers who will focus on strategies to help organic dairy farmers be as resilient as possible in the face of unpredictable weather conditions, challenges brought on by advances in technology, and, perhaps most significantly, the current over-supply of organic milk and low pay price.

With pay price at 2010 levels and an oversupply that will take at least 18 months to absorb, organic dairy farm families need to work together to contribute solutions to avoid a potential death knell for a sustainable price for small to mid-size operations. Come to Field Day and share your problems and build on PRACTICAL and OBTAINABLE solutions. Join other producers at the producer-only meeting at 7:00 am on Friday 9/29/2017 to complain first, then to look at ways to protect our market and strengthen our leverage in pay price negotiations. The 17th Annual NODPA Field Days educational program will focus on those strategies that increase organic dairy farm families’ resilience in these challenging times. The first farm tour is to Bill and Joanne Casey’s Casey Farms, Apulia Station, NY on Thursday morning, and Kathie and Kirk Arnold’s Twin Oaks Dairy on Friday afternoon. To read all the details of this year’s Field Days, please go to:

Field Days Overview

Organics under Attack

The integrity of the USDA Organic program is currently in a precarious position. It is under attack from Congress, the NOP, and from organic advocates. The organic dairy pay price, and subsequently family farm income, is collapsing under the strain of a surplus brought on by poor supply management by milk buyers, poor implementation of existing regulation by the NOP and certifiers, and the failure of the NOP to pass regulations to uphold the integrity of the organic standards. The unique process of organic certification that has held consumer confidence and allowed organic products to stand out in the marketplace is also under attack and the results could well be more long-term and devastating than a drop in pay price.

The threats come from three distinct areas: the 2018 Farm Bill; from the bureaucratic inertia at the NOP; and by single-issue organic advocates who are looking to bypass the established process and change regulations through Congressional action. This article will explore how and why these areas of threat are so important because the defense of organic integrity and the changes to Federal regulations happen in many different ways and we all need to understand how an action in one area will affect a possible solution in another. To read the full article please go to:

Organics Under Attack


By Mary-Howell Martens, Lakeview Organic Grain

Mycotoxins are toxic chemicals produced by certain types of fungi that grow on plant material, both in the field or in storage. Mycotoxins are a common problem worldwide, indeed, it is estimated that globally, over 25% of field crops are affected annually with mycotoxins. In Europe, Napoleon’s defeat in Russia may not have been due as much to cold or military skill, but rather to mycotoxin-contaminated grain fed to horses and men.

At a recent meeting with other feed mill operators and regulators, mycotoxins are definitely on everyone’s mind, as a feed and food hazard that is increasing with changing weather patterns and especially with the amount of distillers’ grain from ethanol production that is fed on conventional dairies.  Mycotoxin levels can be significantly concentrated and increased in distillers’ grain.  Conventional dairy farmers are also concerned about all the corn for silage that was planted late and ‘mudded in’. To read the whole article please go to:

Mycotoxin Alert 2017

What is the Right Herd Size for Your Farm?

By Sarah Flack

What is the right number of cows for the farm?  And how would that change if the herd was 100% grass-fed with a milking parlor?  What if instead of going grass-fed, the herd continues to get some grain, and robots milked the cows?  What about just investing in a better grazing system and soil amendments to produce more high-quality pasture and forage on the current land base?  Is it better to buy the haying equipment or continue to have harvesting done by custom operators and buy some bales when needed? To find out some of the answers please go to:

Right Herd Size

An Interview with Neal Kinsey

By Sonja Heyck-Merlin

Neal Kinsey, internationally known expert on soil fertility management and the owner of Kinsey Agricultural Services, will be presenting at the 17th Annual NODPA Field Days on September 28 & 29, 2017 in Truxton, NY, and ahead of the NODPA Field Days, we wanted everyone to learn more about Neal via the following interview, which is based on questions submitted by a number of organic dairy farmers.

Please introduce yourself:
I was born on a farm in southeast Missouri in the same county where I currently live. I am the eldest of 12 children, and I spent my childhood with my grandfather while my father served in the military. Once my father came home he also started farming. I am married with two daughters. My business, Kinsey Agricultural Services, was launched as a part-time enterprise in 1973. By 1976, I had grown my business enough to pursue it full-time. What we do at Kinsey Ag. is advise in terms of soil fertility. We sell advice, not products.

To read the full interview please go to:

Neal Kinsey Interview

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.

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September 19, 2017

Pay and Feed
Price Update

As pay price tumbles, losing between $3-10 per hundred pounds compared to 2016, fluid milk sales continue to grow as does the world-wide demand for organic milk powder. Organic exports are up this year on last, from $4 million to $16 million. Demand for organic fluid milk shows no signs of slowing down. The USDA AMS national data reports total organic milk products’ sales for June 2017 were 208 million pounds, down 1.7% from the previous June 2016. Overall, the January-June 2017 sales are up 0.8% over the previous January-June 2016. Total organic whole milk products’ sales for June 2017 were up 4% over June 2016. This resulted in 7.7% increase in sales of organic whole milk for the first half of 2017, over sales in the same period of 2016.

Organic Valley and Maple Hill Creamery, both of which have reduced pay price and stopped taking on transitioning producers, are launching a new Grass-Fed label, apparently after scrapping the work with the American Grassfed Association. The announcement was made in Washington DC and at Expo East in Maryland.  NOFA-NY and PCO are part of the collaboration since they both currently offer a proven and successful Organic Grass-Fed Certification Program.  This fall, more information will be released regarding the certification program and certifying-body accreditation allowing all accredited organic certifiers the opportunity to certify producers to this program. OV had a grassmilk call recently where ALL grassmilk producers were told that they will be required to certify to the “new” Grassfed organic standards, with the obligatory annual third party inspections by January 2018. There are many questions left unanswered and only a few months to complete the standards and ensure accountability. The cynical reader may see this as a way to decrease the Grassfed pool of milk which is currently losing money. For more on the Feed and Pay price please go to:

Pay Price September