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USA: Report on Organic Dairying

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

Consumers are catching on to the advantages of organic dairy products - demand for those has risen quickly in recent years, and sales of organic milk in the USA are now at least US$750 million annually. This option has allowed many smaller pasture-based dairies to stay in business.The new Cream of the Crop report shows how both farmers and the economy can benefit from organic dairies. In the report, proprietors of three successful organic dairy farms share their stories with the Union of Concerned Scientists.

In Cream of the Crop, the authors looked at financial data from organic and conventional dairy farms in Vermont and Minnesota, two states with prominent organic dairy sectors. The data were used to model specific metrics for the economic benefits of increased dairy sales: output - the value of an industry's production within the state; gross state product - the incremental economic value that a sector provides to the state's economy; labor income - the proceeds from employment, including wages, benefits, and revenue of self-employed business owners; and increase in employment. It was revealed that in both Minnesota and Vermont, increases in organic dairy sales resulted in larger positive impacts across all of these metrics than similar increases in conventional dairy sales.

Current federal farm policies in the USA make organic dairy farming more difficult than it needs to be, the Union of Concerned Scientists reports, and tend to reduce organic dairy production and consumption. Lax regulation of confined animal feeding operations allows them to take cost-reducing shortcuts that give them a competitive advantage, while federal research and support programs are not structured to help organic dairy farms, according to the association. Revisions currently proposed for federal dairy programs would further subsidize these large operations, just at a time when support for organic dairy farms should be prioritized so that more of their economic, environmental and health benefits could be reaped. The report tgerefore also includes four policy recommendations that can have a positive impact on the growth of organic dairy farms. The full report Cream of the Crop is available here. An executive summary can be downloaded here.
 

Union of Concerned Scientists
 

 


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