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Organic Trade Association applauds USDA action on Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program


Maggie McNeil
May 19, 2023
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The Organic Trade Association applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s opening of its application process for payments through its Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program (ODMAP) for a total of $104 million of available funds to assist organic dairy operations hit by unexpected challenges and escalating costs. This program was created by USDA earlier this year to help dairy operations, particularly small- and medium-sized dairy operations who, after weathering the pandemic, are now dealing with the additional challenges of unprecedented shocks to global trade, which have dramatically cut the supply and increased the costs of organic feedstuffs. Data from Mercaris, a market research firm specializing in organic agriculture, shows the average price of feed for organic dairy cows jumped by nearly $200 per head from 2018 to 2022. 

Under the terms of the details announced today, if every organic dairy farmer in the country applies for this assistance OTA anticipates just $30 million would be spent. OTA urges USDA to work with the industry to release more funds in a timely fashion to ensure that the full allocated amounts reach those dairy farmers in need.  

“We are pleased that USDA is moving forward with this much needed program. The need is real, and the need is now,” said Tom Chapman, CEO of the Organic Trade Association. “OTA is grateful to the Organic Feedstuff Trade Relief Task Force for their tireless advocacy to Congress and USDA to address the unique challenges faced by organic livestock farmers over the last two years.  Family farmers are the foundation of the organic dairy sector, and we are heartened that USDA has recognized the urgency to get the resources out to those in need. We look forward to working in partnership with the USDA to ensure full support for the organic dairy sector.” 

Members of OTA’s Feedstuff Trade Relief Task Force are: Aurora Organic Dairy, California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), Farmer Focus, Handsome Brook Farm, Horizon Organic, Mercaris, Organic Valley, Risk to Resilience Strategy, Stonyfield Farm, and Straus Family Creamery.