Milk Muddle

Organic Milk Producer Under Pressure




Dudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock.com

The Aurora Organic Dairy pastures and feedlots north of Greeley, Colorado, are home to more than 15,000 cows—more than 100 times the size of a typical organic herd. It is the main facility of the company that supplies milk to Walmart, Costco and other major retailers.

They adhere to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic regulations, but critical weaknesses exist in the inspection system the government uses to ensure that food is organic; farmers are allowed to hire their own inspectors to certify them, and thus can fall short of reaching standards without detection.

Organic dairies are required to allow the cows to graze daily throughout the growing season rather than be confined to barns and feedlots. Although the USDA National Organic Program allows for an extremely wide range of grazing practices that comply with the rule, Aurora was observed onsite and via satellite imagery by the Washington Post as having only a small percentage of the herd outdoors on any given day. The company disputes the data. U.S. organic dairy sales amounted to $6 billion last year; although it is more expensive to produce, the milk may command a premium price of 100 percent more than regular.


This article appears in the September 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Letter from Publisher

Fall brings intense morning traffic as we navigate school zones and buses and parents shuttling kids, plus concern for my coastal friends and family during the height of hurricane season.

Dallas County Community College Focuses on Sustainability

The Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) has become one of the most important assets in the Metroplex to students.

Yoga Holds Special Benefits for Children

More than ever, kids today are spending more time indoors at home and at their desks at school.

Back-to-School Sustainability Tips

Swim Like Someone’s Life Depends On It

The seventh annual Swim Across America Dallas Open Water Swim will be held September 30th.

Add your comment: