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Should Factory-Style Dairy Farms Like Horizon & Aurora Be Able to Call Themselves Organic?

News Advisory
Date: 8/12/2005
Re: Key Organic Farm Decision
The Organic Pasture Debate

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will likely make a key organic
farm management determination at its August 15-17 meeting in Washington,
D.C. At issue is the requirement that dairy cows and other ruminants obtain
a significant portion of their annual feed from grazing on pasture.
Organic family-scale dairy farmers from across the country are coming to the
meeting to voice their support for a proposed guidance document that
requires significant pasturing for ruminants. The document has already won
unanimous support from the NOSB¹s livestock committee.

A controversy was sparked earlier this year when The Cornucopia Institute
filed formal complaints with the USDA against management practices on three
of the nation¹s largest organic dairy farms. The group charged that the
operations were confining 3000-5000 milk cows into small dry-lots, with
little or no access to pasture, as a way of allowing them to more
intensively milk their herd while skirting organic production requirements.
All three farms sell all or some of their milk to Dean/Horizon, the nation¹s
largest distributor of organic dairy products. In addition, a number of
private label products contain milk from these "factory farms".
The NOSB meeting is being held at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 1330 Maryland
Avenue, SW, Washington, DC beginning at 10:30am on Monday, the 15th. Public
testimony from farmers and concerned consumers will be heard in the

More background on this issue as well as the formal complaints filed by The
Cornucopia Institute can be viewed on the organization¹s website, located

For additional information, contact Mark Kastel at608-625-2042 or Will
Fantle at 715-839-7731.
The Cornucopia Institute
608-625-2042 Voice

P.O. Box 126
Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827