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UNH-led project to boost Northeast organic dairy industry
Date:11/2/2011

DURHAM, N.H. Researchers from the University of New Hampshire are leading a multi-state project that aims to help organic dairy farmers better produce and market their milk. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to 12 researchers from the universities of Maine, Vermont, Cornell, and the USDA, well as UNH, the research will explore how organic dairy farmers in the Northeast can enhance farm profitability by extending the grazing season and adding value to milk through flaxseed supplementation.

"Organic milk production has been one of the fastest growing segments of organic agriculture in the nation in the past decade, and the Northeast produces approximately 25 percent of the organic milk in the U.S.," says principal investigator Andr Brito, assistant professor of organic dairy management at UNH. "Organic represents a tremendous potential to maintain rural economies and preserve working environmental landscapes through profitable organic dairy farms."

"As more and more farmers adopt organic agriculture practices, they need the best science available to operate profitable and successful organic farms," says Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of the USDA. "America's brand of organic agricultural goods is world-renowned for its high quality and abundance of selection. These research and extension projects will give producers the tools and resources to produce quality organic food and boost farm income, boosting the 'Grown in America' brand."

The project, which was funded through NIFA's Organic Research and Extension Initiative, addresses needs expressed by organic dairy farmers in a series of focus group interviews funded by two planning grants. "Organic dairy farmers were specifically concerned about the new pasture rule," says Brito, noting a new federal standard that dictates ruminant animals must graze on pasture 120 days per year with about 30 percent o
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Contact: Beth Potier
beth.potier@unh.edu
603-862-1566
University of New Hampshire
Source:Eurekalert

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