Posts Tagged organic dairy

USDA Secretary Perdue Betrays His Disdain for Family-Scale Farmers Again

Friday, October 4th, 2019

USDA Secretary Perdue made comments at the World Dairy Expo this week that have inflamed family-scale dairy producers across the country:

USDA Secretary Perdue
Source: USDA, Flickr

“…[B]ig get bigger and small go out. … It’s very difficult on economies of scale with the capital needs and all the environmental regulations and everything else today to survive milking 40, 50, 60 or even 100 cows, and that’s what we’ve seen.”

Small dairies and other family-scale farms support rural areas with food and local investment. They are a critical part of the fabric of the rural United States.

Many small dairy farmers transitioned to organic production in order to survive the economies of scale that have overtaken conventional dairy markets. Organic producers and consumers have asked for stricter regulation for both environmental and human health, setting organic agriculture apart from conventional.

Instead of giving support to the organic market, Perdue seems determined to subvert it on behalf of industrial organic interests. Read Full Article »

Origin of Livestock Rule Crawls Through Regulatory Mire

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

The crisis in organic dairy is ongoing, with many family scale organic farms barely staying afloat or already out of business.

Source: Taylor Bennett, Flickr

Ethical farmers believe this crisis is perpetuated by differing applications of the “origin of livestock” rules in the organic standards. And some certifiers do appear to allow their dairy clients to game the system.

Offending dairies sell their certified organic calves for top dollar and buy cheap conventional heifers that are transitioned to organic over one year. This practice gives dairies a financial leg up because it allows them to sell the organic milk produced, instead of feeding it to baby calves.

The long-awaited Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule would have clarified this issue in 2018, but that proposed rule was withdrawn by the Trump administration, apparently in favor of agribusiness interests. A final rule remains on the horizon, despite dire reports from authentic organic dairy farmers.

Dairy consumers can help by using Cornucopia’s Organic Dairy Scorecard to support ethical family farmers.

Interested readers who want to learn more about the origin of livestock issue can also check out Cornucopia’s comprehensive report: The Industrialization of Organic Dairy.


Small Organic Dairy Farmers Say the Rules are Stacked Against Them. One Rule in Particular.
The Origin of Livestock rule is being applied in different ways by different certifiers, which producers and advocates say gives an unfair advantage to large dairies.
Civil Eats
by Lisa Held

Organic dairy farmers are often isolated and don’t get to connect to each other, said Liz Pickard, a farmer at Twin Oaks Dairy in Truxton, New York. But right now, when they do, the National Organic Program’s (NOP) “Origin of Livestock” rule is a hot topic.

“Everyone’s talking about it. It’s a huge deal,” she said on a recent phone call from her farm, as she cursed a stalled tractor. “This is probably one of the biggest things that’s putting a drag on the milk market right now.” Read Full Article »

Frank Coelho on the Organic Milk Industry in California

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Mark Kastel visited Frank Coelho’s farm this spring when he was doing the investigation of the Fagundes Brothers dairy near Modesto.  While Fagundes Brothers were confining their 3000 cows in feedlots that were truly filthy (see our photo gallery) the Coelho family had their 450 cows out on grass — proving you can do organics “right” on a large scale.  Here is an audio clip of Frank Coelho talking about the organic milk industry in California and his family’s story in the Central Valley Business Times. During the interview, Mr. Coelho discusses how organic farmers say they are being squeezed out of business by large corporations and rising operating costs.