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With the current downturn in milk pricing, demand for organic milk outpacing supply, and stable pricing for organically-produced milk, now is the time for conventional dairy farmers to think about transitioning to organic milk production, says NY Organic Dairy Initiative Project Manager Fay Benson with the Cornell University South Central NY Regional Team. 

The transition to organic production can be challenging to plan and may take up to three years to complete, so a ‘Tools for Transitioning to Organic Dairy’ webinar is set for 10am-11:30am on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, for those who work with dairies interested in becoming organic producers and farmers considering the transition.

“While milk prices for conventionally-produced milk are subject to wide fluctuation, the price for organic milk has risen or remained stable over the past 20 years, prompting increasing interest in organic production. Producers are currently receiving in excess of $35 per hundredweight,” Benson says. “Farmers are looking for the information and assistance they need to make a smooth adjustment to organic practices for cows, crops, and personnel.”

In addition to Benson, the webinar will feature presenters with the Northeast Organic Farming Association, USDA Farm Services Agency, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Presentations will cover the requirements for organic certification, tools to adjust conventional farming practices to meet those requirements, and the types of federal loans and Environmental Quality Incentives Program Organic Initiative resources that can help with transition costs.

Other topics include how to develop an Organic System Plan, spreadsheets for figuring the cost of transitioning cropland, other tools for making the switch to organic dairy crops production, and return on investment data.

The webinar is targeted at informing and equipping Extension and agribusiness educators, NY FarmNet counselors, bankers and other dairy industry personnel to help farmers interested in transitioning to organic dairy production, but farmers are also welcome to participate in the webinar. There will be time for questions and answers.

To register for the May 19 webinar, use the link at 
For more details, contact Benson at 607-753-5213.

The NY Organic Dairy Initiative receives funding from the New York Farm Viability Institute and support from Cornell Cooperative Extension dairy extension teams statewide. 


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