Crisis coalition seeks to help drought-impacted organic dairy farmers
Published: December 9, 2022
Category: Organic News, The Non-GMO Blog
Emergency relief is required for Western organic dairy producers to stave off shutdowns due to ongoing drought conditions.
Straus Family Creamery of Petaluma, CA organized the Western Organic Dairy Farming Crisis Coalition in August 2022 to seek immediate help. Several organic dairies anticipate an average loss of $250,000 this year, to follow into 2023 if drought and inflation continue.
“Farmers have survived through drought before, but the current drought coupled with inflation and other impacts are leaving dairy farmers strapped like never before,” said Dayna Ghirardelli, executive director of Sonoma County Farm Bureau. “This time is different.”
Feed costs are up 50%, operating costs are rising, and food shortages are threatening viability of farms. Family farms are responsible for 85% of U.S. food supply. The valuable contribution of organic and regenerative farming could be lost, impacting dairy farming and consumer choices far into the future. Albert Straus, CEO of Straus Family Creamery, says organic practices, carbon sequestration, and rotational grazing have created an excellent pasture year, despite drought.
Some conventional dairies are buying organic alfalfa hay because hay is in dangerously short supply as regional drought continues—leaving organic dairies with insufficient feed in coming months. Through the coalition, Straus Family Creamery is reaching out to state and federal politicians and agencies, seeking emergency help to save organic dairy farms.
Concerned citizens are invited to sign onto the coalition’s new public letter to USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Western government officials.
Source: Straus Family Creamery / Change.org
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Organic & Non-GMO Insights December 2022