“Organic meetings, conventions, seminars, pasture walks, books, magazines, newspapers, and other organic farmers are all valuable resources for us,” shared dairyman Dan Flood. “We rely on Organic Valley, our co-op, a lot as well because they have a very good support staff.”
Resource materials also come in the form of written work for the Wisconsin dairyman as he explained, “We also read Graze, The Organic Broadcaster, and Hoard’s Dairyman.”
Three additional organic operations shared insight into their farms in this Hoard’s Dairyman Intel as well as the Round Table found on pages 46 to 48 of the January 25 issue of Hoard’s Dairyman.
Here are their responses to the question, “What are your most valuable information resources?”
Engelbert Farms, Nichols, N.Y.: Since we weren’t born until after our farm was already certified organic and our dad learned so many lessons the hard way over 30 years, he has passed that knowledge directly to us. One thing we glean a lot of value from is constantly talking with other friends and farmers, both organic and conventional, to see what they are trying and how it’s working for them.
Another valuable resource is the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pa., which has done a lot of research and experiments with growing no-till organic row crops. We are excited to try some of their ideas in the next cropping season. We have shipped to Organic Valley since 2001, and they have been an excellent partner. It’s nice to belong to a co-op that protects its members and looks out for their interests.
Hidden Valley Dairy, Paul, Idaho: In the organic world, there’s not a lot of great resources. There is a lot of trial and error on your own part and self-learning. It’s a lot of self-examining your operation and solving problems yourself.
We rely on a good nutritionist who monitors our feed intakes and feed program and milk production on a daily basis. We have great managers; they are the front line on everything. We emphasize watching and monitoring the cows since they are our livelihood. If you treat the cow good, the cow will treat you good.
Nature’s Way Dairy, Portales, N.M.: Developing relationships is a key component to dairying organically. It is critical to source out quality growers, vendors, and consultants who embrace the organic philosophy and practices. Through my 10 years managing organic dairies, I have been able to build a strong team of advisers, which includes our local veterinarian as well as a consulting veterinarian, our nutritionist, our reproductive consultant, and our business consultant. We rely heavily on these individuals to research organic options for our dairy and solve challenges as they arise.
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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2017
February 6, 2017