Organic Farming

Exploring a New Frontier

What better way to celebrate National Co-op month than to visit one of our favorite Co-op partners? Last month, our Assistant Director of Purchasing, Retail Sails and Category Coordinator, and Outreach and Education Manager took a trip out to Iowa to visit the Frontier Co-op headquarters and connect with representatives from co-ops around the country.

A New Direction for Vermont Agriculture

This is a guest post by Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm. All views expressed in this article are personal to Jack.

Just about every dairy farmer in Vermont will tell you that their industry is in a grave crisis situation.  The experts tell us that our present system of pricing commodity milk from the farm is broken and pretty much unrepairable. There is simply too much milk being produced.  According to the agricultural economists, we are now in a global marketplace and milk prices show no sign of improvement in the near future.  Several well-respected commentators have recently made some pretty radical suggestions they feel will help the situation.  For some time now, James Maroney of Leicester has been pushing for a statewide transition to organic dairy practices as a way to improve water quality in Lake Champlain.  More recently, Roger Allbee, a very well respected former Secretary of the Vermont Department of Agriculture, has suggested that the only cure for the present milk pricing malaise is to move the Vermont dairy industry en masse into the organic sector.  Reactions to these proposals have been rather predictable.  The conventional co-ops that handle the lion’s share of Vermont produced milk are incredulous and dead set against any such change while folks in the organic camp are elated that a former agriculture secretary would recognize the viability and economic advantages of organic farming systems. 

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