Livestock producers, have you been thinking about going organic? From previous marketing studies, done as part of the Meat Industry Capacity and Feasibility Study of the North Coast Region of California, we know that it's possible to command a 30 percent or more price increase for organic meat products (see page vi of Executive Summary at http://cemendocino.ucanr.edu/files/44389.pdf). As those producers who are in this market niche will tell you, however, it is not an easy endeavor to become organic.
Fortunately for those of you wanting to try, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has two documents that are beneficial to read. The first, published in November of 2012, is entitled Guide for Organic Livestock Producers. It may be found at http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5101543. A second fact sheet entitled Organic Livestock Requirements was released in February of 2013 and is available at http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5102526.
This second publication is especially useful in spelling out the requirements for grazing ruminants. It even has a link (http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/NOPProgramHandbook) that will take you to the newly revised National Organic Program Standards Handbook and in it you will find links to help you calculate the dry matter intake (DMI) requirements for access to pasture http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5096778.
In addition, you may find the following link http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/organicinfo very useful to help you decide if organic production is for you.
This is a repost of an article that appeared in the North American Meat Association's newsletter Lean Trimmings. I think livestock producers and consumers will find the site useful and that's why I'm reposting it here.
Today, NAMA is pleased to announce a new website for meat industry regulatory guidance at www.meatexperts.com. The new NAMA Meat Experts is a site for meat company managers and others to get answers to meat regulation related questions. The site invites visitor participation via ‘Ask the Experts’ inquiries and provides a forum for ongoing discussion on each inquiry. The goal is to build a knowledgebase about meat inspection, food safety and industry regulatory oversight based on incoming questions and the staff’s expertise.
An app for iPhone and Android with which visitors will be able to access the knowledgebase at NAMA Meat Experts, and also to send in new inquiries directly from their smart phones, will be released later this spring.
Within the beef pages you’ll find information from University of California Cooperative Extension livestock & natural resources advisors and specialists; UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine researchers; and Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) scientists grouped by topics. The goal is to make it easy for you to navigate quickly to the topics you're interested in as they pertain to California beef production.
In addition, there are links to important beef resources developed by USDA, professional societies, associations, state colleges, other land grant colleges and universities and their Cooperative Extension. The goal is to provide California cattle producers and land managers with a significant portal into the internet-based information available.
To assist in making it easy for you to find information quickly, you'll find different ways to search for publications on beef and range topics. Currently you can search topic, type or source of publication.
The following came to me via Paula Gaska at Mendocino Organics. It was to start up in February and I don't believe it's too late to participate. My appologies for the lateness as I was out of town when Paula sent it to me.
Establishing a farm or food business?
Taking your garden or homestead to the next level?
Need business planning help or production tips?
West Company is offering farm business development services in 2013
- No-Cost Individual Business Assessments
- No-Cost One-on-One Technical Assistance
- No-Cost Training through the Grow Your Farm Business Workshop Series
Starting in February 2013 - in Ukiah & Ft. Bragg
Intro to Business Planning and CSA
Financial Management and Enterprise Budgeting
Planning, Production, and Recordkeeping
Pricing and Distribution
Marketing I: Building Your Base
Marketing II: Growing and Retaining Members
**Complete all components of the training and receive a completion award - a cash stipend - to use toward your business plan!**
West Company is offering these no-cost business development services through the Strengthening CSAs by Building Capacity and Expanding Markets Project. Funding for this project comes from the United States Department of Agriculture, Farmers Market Promotion Program.
Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact (707) 964-7571.
The American Meat Institute Foundation has an excellent publication entitled Recommended Animal Handling Guidlines & Audit Guide - A Systematic Approach to Animal Welfare that was written by Dr. Temple Grandin from Colorado State University. Ranchers and those concerned about the welfare of livestock produced for food are encouraged to read this publication which was updated in 2010. The pdf can be downloaded at: http://www.animalhandling.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/63215.