Longstanding Midwestern customers of bulk butter previously sourced from organic butter manufacturers in Wisconsin and Iowa have also been told that bulk organic butter will not be available for the foreseeable future. Some potential replacement organic butter manufacturers have been preliminarily located in the Mid-Atlantic Region, but quoted shipping costs on top of quoted pricing are giving pause.
The Dairy Market News Organic Dairy Retail Overview reported no ads for organic butter were found during this period’s retail survey. During 2014, organic butter ads have appeared in only three of the seven periods of the year. Last year, nearly nine times more organic butter ads had appeared so far at this point of the year, than during 2014. Retailers have reduced investments in advertising organic butter.
Many organic dairy producers in Wisconsin and Iowa are near the end of stored feed. Some report having saved the best quality feed through winter and are now replacing the poorer quality feed with better feed, which is helping production. Few have yet moved cows into pastures to begin to start counting days toward the minimum 120-day grazing requirement. Noticeable increases in milk production are expected soon when large numbers of organic cows can begin to pasture graze.
In the Northwest it is a mixed pasture situation. Relatively few Washington and Oregon organic producers are using pastures yet. Rain and wet conditions continue to slow increasing pasture use.
A number of organic producers from the Northwest have traveled to Wisconsin this week for the annual meeting of a national organic farmer cooperative. Many of them made the trip with the goal of personally advocating for an increased organic pay price in the Northwest, which is typically in the range of $4.00 below what organic producers in the Midwest and East receive.