Here’s a farm program guaranteed not to suffer from state subsidy or other corporate favors from Pierre: the Deuel County Chapter of Dakota Rural Action is hosting an Introduction to Organic Dairy event on Saturday, January 16, in Clear Lake to discuss opportunities for current and aspiring farmers to break into the organic milk market.
From 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Deuel County DRA will bring together organic dairy farmer-owners, members of the Organic Valley Co-op, an Organic Crop Improvement Association farmer, and a South Dakota organic grain grower (because you’ve got to feed those organic cows right!) for a public forum. They’ll also bring coffee, snacks, and lunch!
Back in September, SDSU touted the fact that small dairy farms still make up a “highly significant number” of South Dakota’s dairy operations, 181 out of a total 244, but asserted further dairy expansion will have to come from larger operations. That report did not mention the fact that the state’s promotion of large dairies contributed to the closure of an even more highly significant number of 800 small dairies between 2000 and 2012. Deuel County DRA wants to restore small dairies to real significance in South Dakota’s dairy output, not only to produce organic milk through less environmentally damaging means, but also to rebuild communities and recapture the benefits of more farmers being their own boss and expanding real local agriculture.
The Organic Dairy public forum starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, January 16, at the Clear Lake Community Center, 218 Third Avenue South, which is of course north on the main drag next to the Cenex.