This is something we as a Creamery, and Keith as a Dairy Farmer grapple with a lot. We don’t like some of the Organic Standards because we find they are not animal friendly enough. According to the Organic Standards, if an animal needs to be given an antibiotic even once in it’s life, it has to be removed from the herd, permanently. We don’t agree with this. We are not against modern medicine. It is the overuse and abuse of modern medicine that is getting us all into trouble.
The Organic Standards are great about soil health and conditions, and the animals’ need to have a minimum amount of time out on pastures. We totally agree with that. Keith is in his second year of transitioning his land to Organic. This is not such a big step for him, since his only exception to following the organic standards previously, was spreading nitrogen on his fields in the summer. Nitrogen really makes grass grow fast after it has been hayed or eaten down. This was a great help in preventing the fields from drying up too fast after they were hayed, but as Keith reduces his herd, there is less and less pressure to grow a lot of hay.
In the summer of 2012 Keith started experimenting with fish fertilizer in the hope it would stimulate the microbial life in the soil and get it to release nitrogen and other micronutrients to the grasses. This is work in progress and we hope this fertilizer will bring the nutritional levels in the grasses up even higher then they were.
We hope that as we grow as a Creamery and more funds become available to the dairy, we can either switch over to organic grain, grow our own grain, or become entirely grass fed. This is also a work in progress. Organic grain at this time is prohibitively expensive, growing grain requires equipment we don’t currently have, but hopefully we will be eliminating conventional grain entirely from our animal feed in the future.
Our grain does not contain any GMO. It consist of wheat, barley and supplements to give our dairy animals the best advantage we can give them.