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Home  > Question of the Week

Question of the Week

Permalink What information can you give me on transitioning to organic dairy production?


Answer: Thank you for contacting ATTRA for information regarding transitioning to organic dairy production.

There are several ATTRA publications that discuss the organic certification process and organic production. I would encourage you to read through those publications, as they should answer many of the questions you may have about transitioning to organic production. The Organic Livestock Workbook will be helpful to you as you transition to organic production. This workbook will help you evaluate your current practices and determine if you are meeting organic regulations. This will let you know what changes to your current production practices you’ll need to make to meet organic regulations. The resources listed in the Dairy Resource List should also be helpful to you. If you have any questions about any of the material covered in these publications, please let me know. The Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA) may be a helpful group to you. They have resources to help new organic dairy producers and it is a good way to network with other organic dairy producers. They may also be able to help you locating sources of organic feeds in the Northeast.

Referenced below are several articles and resources that should be helpful to you, and others, as you make the transition to organic production. The resources include:
• Highlights of NOP Livestock Production Standards. This document gives the basic rules for organic production. It breaks down the rules and makes them a little easier to understand.
• The National List. This is the list of all of the products allowed or not allowed in organic production.
• Several articles regarding transitioning to organic dairy production. These articles cover the basic principles of organic dairy production and clarify the rules. This includes the rules regarding replacement animals.
• Raising Organic Livestock in Maine: MOFGA Accepted Health Practices, Products and Ingredients. This article has a great list of common ailments and includes preventative measures and organic treatments. It lists products that are commonly allowed in organic production and suppliers of the products.
• Several organic health care articles. These articles discuss several common ailments and discuss organic and alternative treatments.
• Several articles on the economics of organic dairying. These articles may be of interest to you. They look at the costs of organic production compared to conventional production.
• Price information for organic milk and organic feed grains.


Baier, A. 2006. Highlights of NOP Livestock Production Standards (draft). ATTRA publication. 4 p.

Baier, A. 2006. Highlights of NOP Standards (draft). ATTRA publication. 4 p.

The National Organic Program. National List. 6 p.

Transitioning to Organic Dairy Production. Organic Fact Sheet. MOSES. 1 p.

Transitioning to Organic. Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Association. 7 p.

Dairy Animal Acquisition under the NOP Regulations
. NOP. 1 p.

Arnold, K. 2006. Organic Dairy Replacements-A Big Issue. NODPA News. Vol. 6, No. 1. p. 8-9.

Raising Organic Livestock in Maine: MOFGA Accepted Health Practices, Products and Ingredients. 7 p.

Bransky, P. 2004. Organic Cows: Healthy Approaches and Treatments. The Organic Broadcaster. Vol. 12, No. 6. MOSES. 5 p.

Dettloff, P. 2005. Mother Nature’s animal health tools. The New Farm. 2 p.

Padgham, J. n.d. Internal Parasites and Ruminants: Organic Answers. The Organic Broadcaster. MOSES. 4 p.

Pennington, J. n.d. Factors to Consider for Organic Dairy Farming in Arkansas. 2 p.

Dalton, T. et al. 2005. Revised Cost and Returns to Organic Dairy Farming in Maine and Vermont for 2004. University of Maine. 5 p.

Butler, L. 2002. Survey quantifies cost of organic milk production in California. California Agriculture, September-October 2002. p. 157-162.

Kriegl, T. 2006. Summary of Economic Studies of Organic Dairy Farming in Wisconsin, New England, and Quebec. 3 p.

McCrory, L. 2001. An Economic Comparison of Organic and Conventional Dairy Production, and Estimations on the Cost of Transitioning to Organic Production. NOFA-VT . 5 p.

Dairy Pay Price Comparisons. 2 p.

Kersbergen, R., Dalton, T., Bragg, L. 2006. Organic Dairy Farming…Do Higher pay prices equal more profit?. NODPA News. Vol. 6, Issue 1. p. 1-3.

Organic Grain Prices. New Farm Organic Price Index (OPX). 5 p.

OFARM Target Price List. 1 p.



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