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CALIFORNIA DROUGHT PUSHING ORGANIC DAIRIES OUT OF BUSINESS
BrownfieldAgNews reports:

Dairy Market News says the continuing drought in California particularly in the San Joaquin Valley is pushing organic dairy producers out of business.

When producers weigh the cost of bringing in organic feed, the price they will get for organic milk and the price they can get for taking their organic cows to slaughter, many have decided the cows are worth more dead than alive.

Cows that are not sold to slaughter are generally sold into conventional herds. Add to that the fact there just doesn't seem to be any new organic producers coming on-line.

An organization representing organic dairy producers in the Northwest is finalizing a survey of organic producers looking at feed costs, water availability and other factors hoping to convince processors they need more money for organic milk.

As we reported yesterday: U.S. weighted average advertised price for a half-gallon of organic milk last week $3.49 up 26 cents from two weeks ago. A half-gallon of conventional milk is $2.24 putting the organic-to-conventional spread at $1.25, the lowest of the year. A year ago the spread was $1.80

Dairy Market News reports total organic milk product sales in March were 212 million pounds up 14.3 percent from March of last year. Year-to-date sales are 15.6 percent ahead of a year ago.

Organic whole milk sales were up 24 percent compared to March of 2013 and reduced fat milk sales were up 15.2 percent. For the first three months of the year organic whole milk sales are up 22.4 percent and reduced-fat sales are up 23.7 percent compared to the first quarter of 2013.

Organic still represents a small share of total milk products sold in March: 212 million pounds of organic milk products compared to more than 4 billion pounds of conventional milk products.


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