Humboldt Creamery is a member cooperative association owned by 50 Northern California dairy families. It is the oldest active dairy cooperative in the state. Humboldt Creamery produces a full line of dairy products, including fluid milk, powdered milk, ice cream and frozen novelties. Richard Ghilarducci is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Humboldt Creamery Association. He had testified before the first-ever Congressional hearing on organic agriculture and business.
Richard Ghilarducci sheds light on a few important aspects of organic dairy production
Managing an organic dairy is a complex endeavor, but there is still much less to do at such dairies in comparison to their more conventional counterparts. After all, when it comes to organic dairy production, one would not be applying fertilizer or pesticides, nor would they be dealing with antibiotics or hormone injections. Complexities in organic dairy production majorly are associated with the aspect of raising calves. Keeping baby calves alive organically is not easy, especially when a dairy raises a lot of them. It is imperative to provide calves with adequate tender loving care and support,
The majority of renowned business leaders give credit to a mentor for passing on key leadership competencies. Mentoring plays a vital role in engaging employees to commit to a company, and eventually becoming a part of the succession pipeline. A lot of attention needs to be provided to the health and well being of the cows. These cows cannot be given antibiotics, but are allowed to be vaccinated and most organic dairies take the best possible advantage of this measure. Another great advantage of having an organic dairy farm in California is the weather.
Outdoor hutches on hand are an option that has worked well to raise each calf individually; hence dairies can try to buy more of them. When it comes to feed, there are both advantages and disadvantages in organic dairy production. On one hand, dairymen can depend on the prolific grass and clover pasture of Northern California that is high in protein and self-fertilized. It is grazed and also put up as silage. On the other hand, there is the obstacle of acquiring organic grains. Organic corn used by certain dairies typically comes into Oregon by train, which the dairymen have to haul in. They often feed barley and flax meal or canola meal to the cows as well. Such feed comes from a lot of different directions, and it is not always easy to find for a reasonable amount.
Organic production has been a natural progression for many dairymen in California. A lot of them were already utilizing all manure for fertilizers, and hence most of their fields qualified organic. These dairymen also work on creating and executing intensive herd-health program, which helps with organic production, as one needs to be very hands-on with the cows to successfully run an organic dairy. A lot of attention needs to be provided to the health and well being of the cows. These cows cannot be given antibiotics, but are allowed to be vaccinated and most organic dairies take the best possible advantage of this measure. Another great advantage of having an organic dairy farm in California is the weather. These dairies enjoy cool temperatures they enjoy year-round, which helps maintaining great living conditions for the cows. Even before certain dairies here were certified organic, they had a very natural system in place. Its cows were free to graze and exercise, and did not have to stay in confinement.
Richard Ghilarducci evaluates national and regional markets, and then pays a competitive rate, when it comes to establishing a price for the cooperative’s organic producers. Every year the rate tends to increase by about 6%.