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Lax USDA Enforcement Of Organic Standards Is Hurting Small Organic Dairies

July 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amish farmers in a small town in Iowa have been practicing organic agriculture, including milk production, for nearly 20 years. Their livelihood is being endangered by big dairies that claim to be producing organic milk, but really aren’t. Organic milk is supposed to come from grass-fed cows. But big dairies supplement with grain, which boosts milk production. That in turn lowers the wholesale price of organic milk – by 33 percent over the past year –  which hurts the Amish dairies that follow organic standards strictly. As much as 15 percent of their milk is being sold at the same price as regular milk or just dumped onto the ground. A major part of the problem is lax enforcement of organic standards by the USDA, the small dairies charge. Even when the agency has caught big dairies violating the rules, there have been few if any fines.
Peter Whoriskey, "Amish Farmers Square Off Against Big Organic in Milk Battle", The Washington Post, July 05, 2017, © The Washington Post
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