Crisis Among Organic Family Dairy Farmers

There is a growing crisis on organic family farms – many of them Amish – which honestly and humanely raise their cows on pasture and produce sustainable amounts of authentic, high quality organic milk. Peter Whoriskey of ‘The Washington Post’ reports.
A huge milk glut created by fraudulent, renegade, massive-scale CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) – has severely depressed prices and stolen markets away from family farmers. Meanwhile, USDA, charged with enforcing tough organic REQUIREMENTS continues to suffer whiplash from looking the other way. USDA’s continued failure to enforce the grazing law places on shameful display its bald-faced scale-bias in favor of monied Industrial Ag and bitter disdain for family farmers. Jim

“’This is our living and our way of life,’ said Eldon T. Miller, 71, an Amish dairy farmer here. A little over 20 years ago, Miller began holding informational meetings in his basement about organics, and the idea slowly spread across the area.

“The question for small organic dairy farmers is how long they can hold out against growing competition from very big dairies producing large volumes of organic milk that, in the view of many here, does not deserve the label.

“A glut of organic milk has sunk prices across the United States, threatening livelihoods and rekindling long-standing suspicions that some of the large organic dairies that have emerged are swamping the market with milk that does not meet organic standards. Over the years, some of these very large dairies, most of them in the West, have been cited for violating organic rules by the USDA or inspection agencies. To the chagrin of many here, most have been allowed to continue operating…

“Over the past year, the price of wholesale organic milk sold by Kalona farms has dropped by more than 33 percent. Some of their milk — as much as 15 percent of it — is being sold at the same price as regular milk or just dumped onto the ground, according to a local processor. Organic milk from other small farmers across the United States is also being dumped at similar rates, according to industry figures…

“‘We know with that high concentration of cows that it’s impossible to meet the grazing rule,’ Swantz said. ‘They’re not organic. No way'”