NOFA-NY Blog

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NOFA-NY Stories: Dairy Month

June Dairy Month Image Midwest DairyAs I sit here next to my husband in the early morning light, listening to him snore from the exhaustive work of dairy farming I ponder the thought: June is Dairy Month. What does that mean to our community, our family and our consumers?

June was designated National Dairy Month in 1939. Since that time is has been used as a way to promote dairy products. It is an opportunity for the dairy industry to showcase our products to consumers and share our stories with the intention of increasing sales during the summer flush. How do we do that? 

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The Organic Dairy Transition Dream

Thank you to Robert Perry, our education team grain and field crops coordinator for writing this excellent blog.

The conventional milk prices’ diminishing return on the cost of production has been cause for a recent trend that sent dairy farmers who are on the fence about organic production scrambling for information and an organic transition plan for their farm. NOFA-NY has a technical assistance program that provides answers to some of the challenges confronting farmers today, and the dairy questions have been primarily, “I want to transition my dairy to organic.” While no quick fix exists for an average conventional farm, the one-to-three year timeline for transition creates a path for those serious in their goal. However, my first question to the caller is, “do you have a market?”

The certification process and the tools to develop an organic farm plan and tackle the application forms are what NOFA-NY Certified Organic LLC staff and the NOFA-NY INC technical assistance program do best. certification process

But finding the organic market for the individual farmers’ milk is a personal journey. There are numerous players with various incentives and regional determinations for pick-up and contracts to sign.  When the milk tank is full, the waiting list begins.

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The Grass is Green and the Organic Dairy Industry is Growing!

The Grass is Green and the Organic Dairy Industry is Growing!

Well, it finally feels as though spring has sprung in the Northeast, despite a few cold nights that surely are still to come. It’s likely that many of you already have your cows out on pasture and are moving fences or rotating pastures to prevent them from grazing too close, and punching up some of those still “soggy” spots. Or maybe you are one of the growing group of dairymen looking at this season as your first pasture experience as a transition to organic management.

black cow 183261The continuing low price of conventional milk has more farmers looking at organic management to provide price stability on their farms. NOFA-NY LLC is currently working with the largest group of transitioning farms since the rule change mandating 100% organic feed for a full year to transition. We currently certify 312 dairy operations, 22 of which are grass-fed certified as well. Transition numbers are continually growing, with 55 farms in transition and an additional 13 farms looking to bring in organic animals to start shipping organic milk. Grass-fed is on the rise too, with nine farms pending certification at NOFA-NY.

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Think Differently: Dairy & Field Crop Conference Keynote John Kempf Speaks from Experience

Extraordinarily successful farmers think differently.  John Kempf is one of those farmers. You can tell just by looking at his title on his company website, Advancing  Eco Agriculture: FOUNDER AND VISION BUILDER. 

We are thrilled to have John share his inspiration at our Dairy & Field Crop Conference on Wednesday, March 16 from 8:30 am – 5 pm.  John’s keynote at 1:15 pm—"A Different Perspective on Agriculture”—is for the entrepreneurs, the farmers on the cutting edge, the calculated risk takers, and those who love achieving the impossible.

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