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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

Category Archives: organics

A new Mercaris report has found that U.S. land for organic farming reached 4.1 million acres in 2016, a new record and an 11 percent increase compared to 2014. As of June 2016, the number of certified organic farms in the U.S. reached 14,979, a 6.2 percent increase of 1,000 farms compared to 2014 survey data.


United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide cost share assistance to producers, processors, distributors or other handlers of organic agricultural products.


Texas-based organic producers (crops, wild crops, and/or livestock) and/or handlers are eligible to participate in the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP). Operations must possess current USDA organic certification to be eligible to receive reimbursements. This means operations either must have successfully received their initial USDA organic certification from a USDA-accredited certifying agent, or must have incurred expenses related to the renewal of their USDA organic certification from a USDA accredited certifying agent between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016. Operations with suspended or revoked certifications are ineligible for reimbursement. The applicable NOP regulations and resources for certification are available on the NOP website at

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As issues arise in livestock, grain, forage and equine industries, I compile the best information and send it our to local producers. If you are interested in receiving the update by email, please subscribe here:

I will continue to publish the Ag News blog. The updates contain additional weather information, calendar and more in-depth articles.


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Among organic and sustainable farmers, there is a belief that healthy ecosystems with minimally disturbed soils, adequate access to diverse, high quality forages, and clean water have a robust correlation with cows’ well-being and milk quality.  However, there has been limited research on the relationships between changes in biodiversity, livestock health, and farm management and productivity.

Therefore, in 2012, a University of Vermont research team began a multidisciplinary, long-term study to learn if managing farms for increased diversity at different “community” levels (from rumen microbes to forage composition) in Northeast pasture-based dairy production systems positively contributes to improved livestock well-being, health and productivity, and creates an ecological service feedback loop that benefits soil and natural resource diversity.

“While this research is being done in the northeast, it’s application has amazing potential for the nations largest livestock state” says the new Tarrant County Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent Fred. M. Hall. The 60-minute webinar program is set for 1 p.m. on Monday, January 4 and will be held in the Fort Worth Room at the Tarrant County Extension office located at 200 Taylor St. in Fort Worth.

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The Tarrant County Continuing Organics Program will begin with an eOrganic webinar from 1 to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 4. The program will be on making and using compost tea, with Lynne Carpenter-Boggs and CeCe Crosby of Washington State University presenting. The program will be held at the Tarrant County Extension office in Fort Worth.

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The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, in cooperation with the Texas AgrAbility Project and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will present an agriculture workshop for active duty and veteran military service members and others on Saturday, Jan. 24.

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The Organic Seed Alliance and eOrganic will present a webinar on June 6, 2014, at 10 AM Central time. The webinar, is designed for anyone interested in organic production, especially current operations. The Williamson County Extension Horticulture Committee will host the program in the training room at the Williamson County Extension office. There is no fee, and no pre-registration.

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