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Cornucopia Institute Alert: Organic Standards Must Include Mandatory Pasture Access for All Dairy Cows

The National Organic Program (NOP) has given notice that the regulation on pasture for organic ruminants is being revised. You can make public comments on this important issue until June 12th.

The Cornucopia Institute is working on this issue with the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA),the Midwest Organic Dairy Producers Association (MODPA) and the Western Organic Dairy Producers Association (WODPA) to secure a minimum pasture intake standard in the organic regulations. Years of discussion among organic dairy producers led to the following widely supported position:

Organic dairy livestock over 6 months of age must graze on pasture during the months of the year when pasture can provide edible forage. The grazed feed must provide significant intake, at a minimum an average of 30% of the dry matter intake during the growing season, for no less than 120 days per year. This provision must be for all cows, whether dry or lactating.

Now Is Your Chance to Put in Your 2 Cents

If you have already sent us your proxy letter from the mailing you received earlier this month, that will be sufficient. But if you haven't responded yet, please take this opportunity to do so.

Is it fair to family farmers to compete with feedlot dairies?

Is zero to minimal pasture fair to organic dairy consumers who expect pasture as the norm?

Please write your own letter if possible. The accompanying sample letter < contains some specifics. Add some of your own personal comments in the first part of the sample letter and sign it, if you are a farmer, with your farm name. Please try to:

* add a short, very personal description of your farm or why you buy organic dairy products

* tell Mark Bradley, NOP chief, how much pasture you provide on your farm and its benefits to the health of your animals and the environment

* mention that 4 recent surveys show that the overwhelming majority of organic dairy consumers expect that organic cows are on pasture, so a minimum standard must be put into place to ensure the fulfillment of that expectation

* pasture intake has scientifically been shown to be correlated with increasing the levels of healthful vitamins and essential fatty acids in milk and meat

* well managed pasture reduces input and energy costs
Make Your Voice Heard!

Mail going to Washington DC is not a very timely or sure thing, so faxing or emailing your letter is best.

Fax letters to: 202-205-7808
Email letters to:
Share this action alert with your circle of friends, family and colleagues. Click here to see a sample letter < .

The NOP is asking three questions that they want your feedback on. We have added a suggested response in "dark blue" to each question to aid your letter, you can change the font color in your letter and easily copy and paste this into an email for convenient sending or onto a letter for faxing. Thank you for your interest and help!

- Will Fantle, for The Cornucopia Institute