Organic Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) should not be allowed!
But they do exist.
In our country.
And in our supermarkets.
Here are the cold, hard numbers I uncovered after hours of searching through USDA Organic data reports.
In 2016 the state of New York had 471 organic dairy farms and produced 38 million gallons of milk.(NY has more organic dairy farms than any other state.) The same year Texas had 6 organic dairy farms and produced 56 million gallons of milk. That is not a typo. Six Texas farms produced 18 million MORE gallons of organic milk than all of New York’s organic dairies combined.
By 2019 New York added 136 organic dairy farms and Texas only 3. Sounds good, right? “The small organic farms are winning! Let’s celebrate!” No.
The Small Farms Are Not Winning
Those 9 Texas mega-dairies produced twice as much organic milk as all 607 New York dairies put together. I almost wish I didn’t know… But ignorance is not bliss and the facts don’t lie.
New York organic dairies produced 45 million gallons while Texas dairies produced 95 million gallons of cheap, organic milk that is flooding grocery stores and driving NY farms out of business.
Rough calculations show those New York dairies average 45 cows per farm while the 9 Texas farms average 5,000 – 6,000 cows each.
The message seems to be, “Get big or get out.”
This is real. Industrial Organic CAFO dairies are taking over.
“But maybe that’s not such a bad thing if they give my family cheap organic milk… Isn’t all certified organic milk equal?”
Let’s Take a Look Behind the Industrial Curtain
Hilltop LLC – Boehning Dairy – in Earth, Texas. All the photos were taken by Cornucopia Institute during an organic factory farm investigation.
Aurora Organic Dairy in Dublin, Texas, May 2014 – Recent satellite view.
“It’s important to note that virtually all the surrounding fields, which could be used for pasture, have been recently cut and baled for hay. There is effectively no pasture available to these animals. These feedlots are certified organic by Quality Assurance International.” – Cornucopia Institute
Another Aurora Organic Dairy in Stratford, Texas
Their website clearly states that this Coldwater Dairy Farm has 9,720 cows.
“Center pivot with approximately 400 cows, (4% of the 9,720 managed on this dairy) on seemingly exhausted pasture… This photo seems to illustrate the pattern observed at other Aurora facilities: inadequate acreage available based on the size of the herd. This acreage would not seem to meet the legal requirement for pasture…” – Cornucopia Institute
Organic Natural Prairie Dairy in Channing, Texas
This sprawling factory farm holds 14,000+ cows according to their website.
“Lots of cows in dry lot as opposed to pasture. Organic farm operators are legally allowed to temporarily close confine cattle for a number of reasons related to the health and environment, but not because a confinement-model operation produces more milk.” – Cornucopia Institute
You’ve seen a glimpse behind the industrial curtain. This is how cheap “organic” milk is produced.
Judge for yourself.
Are all organic dairy farms created equal? Not when you realize that 25% of this country’s organic milk is produced by less than 1% of the organic farms. Those mega-dairies clearly fit the EPA’s own definition of a CAFO – Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. And yet, they also claim to fully comply with USDA’s Organic Requirements… Aurora Organic Dairy prominently displays an entire web page devoted to their organic integrity.
So what’s wrong here? How can CAFO Dairies be certified organic?
Is it a corporate greed problem?
Is it a corrupt government problem?
Or is it a combination of the two?
I’m glad those large dairies aren’t using chemicals or antibiotics… but if they are organic then we are a whole level beyond organic! 🙂
The Take Home Message Is: Know Your Farmer, Ask Him Questions, and Visit the Farm if at All Possible
Always remember that you are the most important player in this game. I can show you Behind the Industrial Curtain, but it is you who holds the tremendous power of food choices. Working together we can make a difference!
Your Family Farmer grows Chemical-Free, Antibiotic-Free, GMO-Free, and Soy-Free foods that are Truly Pastured and Humanely Raised. Your Family Farmer delivers raw Jersey Cow milk, 100% grass-fed beef, pastured chicken, woodland pork and more to pickup locations across PA and ships most foods to the 48 Continental States through UPS Home Delivery.