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Home > Food from Farm to Table > Organic Agriculture > Considering Organic Dairy? Resources for Minnesota

Considering Organic Dairy? Resources for Minnesota

Dairy Your Way Manual CoverDairy Your Way

100 pages with chapters about management alternatives (tie stall setups, free stall barns and transitional housing); conventional confinement, grazing and organic management systems; custom heifer-raising and value-added production; milking center design and retrofitting options; dairy farming entry and exit strategies. With farmer profiles from three states. Cost: Free

Contact Minnesota Department of Agriculture at 651-201-6012 for a copy.

Organic Dairy Farming coverOrganic Dairy Farming

192 pages; editor Jody Padgham, with 20 authors. Basics of production and certification for organic dairy. Chapters on herd health, dairy nutrition, milk quality, calves, pasture, soils, and organic crop management. Cost: $14.95

Order from Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services or call 715-772-3153

Midwest Organic Dairy Buyers*

Don’t leave your market to the last minute. Contact buyers early in your transition process. The following companies are sourcing organic milk in Minnesota. Some offer technical and financial assistance. * To add/remove your company, call 651-201-6012

Talk to dairy farmers who are already certified and shipping organic milk

Keep your eye out for field days on organic dairies. See the Directory of Minnesota Organic Farms or request a copy at 651-201-6012.

MDI – Minnesota Dairy Initiative

Advisory/consulting teams are located across the state. One helps dairies investigate alternative enterprises like organic, grass-based, on-farm processing, and goat and sheep dairying and can help you decide whether organic production is a good fit for you. Contact Kent Solberg at the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota, kent@sfa-mn.org or call 218-445-7580.

Learn about organic animal husbandry

Finding an organic certifier in Minnesota

The MDA publishes a list of organic certifiers that take clients in Minnesota. 651-201-6012.

Financial information about organic dairy

Real-world Minnesota organic dairy farm production and profitability information. Run a “Livestock” report (green button). Under #1, choose “Dairy” from dropdown box. Under #4 (Farm Characteristics) go down to Special Sort Item to Include. Click on “None Selected” then select “Organic” and “Click Here to Generate Report.”

Financial assistance during transition

  • Minnesota Transition to Organic Cost Share – pays up to 75% of cost to work with a certifying agency during the transition, soil test, and attend organic education conferences. Capped at $750/farm/yr. 651-201-6012.
  • EQIP Organic Initiative – Contact your county USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office to ask about payments that could help you adopt some conservation practices that organic farming requires.
  • Dairy Business Planning Grants – MDA grants can help dairy farmers evaluate start-up, modernization, expansion, or other significant changes (transition to organic, for example). Contact David at 651-201-6646.

Rev. 3/2017