Betting the farm
How do you tell if a dairy farm is organic?
There are specific regulations for proclaiming ‘organic’. The cows must be given feed grown without pesticides, and they can’t be given antibiotics or growth hormones. In addition, for at least three months a year, the cows have to be out on pasture.
“According to federal law, certified organic farms must provide livestock with at least 30 percent of their dietary dry matter intake from grazing during grazing season. By contrast, more and more conventional farms confine their animals inside. So when you see dairy cows outside, especially in small groups in a sort of strip formation, grazing well-managed, lush green land, chances are you’re looking at an organic dairy farm — either an organic farm or a farm that is actively transitioning to organics. And if you should come upon a conventional grazing operation, chances are it will be transitioning to organic farming in the near future, because it’s not a big leap to move from a good quality conventional grazing farm to an organic operation.”
The above is an excerpt from Dr. Karen Becker’s interview with Dr. Hubert Karreman, the veterinarian at the Rodale Institute. Dr. Karreman founded Bovinity Health, a small company that provides natural veterinary products for large animal medicine. He also founded his own solo practice, Penn Dutch Cow Care, which he operated for 15 years as a holistic large animal practitioner. Dr. Karreman now works primarily with certified organic dairy farmers as a consultant.
For the entire transcript of the interview with Dr. Becker and Dr. Karreman, please visit Dr. Becker’s website.