Pleasant Meadow Creamery is undergoing Certified Organic Transition. This is a three year process that began May 2018 (the last date synthetic fertilizer got applied to one of our leased fields before we gained the lease).
For many years we have fed the ladies certified organic kelp, certified organic no-corn, no-soy grain at milking time. We have managed our fields without the use of any chemicals.
We’ve been in the dairy business long enough (since 2011) now to realize that all of our cow health problems are able to be dealt with either through homeopathic remedies, or National Organic Program allowed drugs. Over all these years, we used antibiotics two times. In one instance they didn’t help. In the other instance, we used them for calves that were purchased and transported across country – a very stressful event for calves.
We no longer purchase cows or calves now that we have a big enough base of our own cows. We’ve found (through God’s grace), we’ve produced a very healthy crop of our own heifers.
Feed and Bedding
Our biggest issues were winter feed and bedding when it comes to certified organic. We used to use wheat straw for bedding. It was not certified organic and was relatively expensive. In 2019, we’ve made the transition to using planer shavings from a local sawmill (Idaho Forest Group’s Laclede mill). There are zero chemicals in planer shavings. In fact, it is a great use of an otherwise waste product of lumber production and makes a great bedding for the ladies.
When we first started, we did not have enough hay or the equipment to produce all of the hay we need. Thus, we always had to purchase hay from local growers. This was a problem, because if you try to pin down local growers on what they are using on their fields, the reality is they are using synthetic fertilizers and nasty weed killers.
We don’t want that nasty stuff in our bodies, nor in yours, so we bought all of our own haying equipment and leased enough fields to grow all of our own and have surplus premium certified organic hay to sell to others.
This hay production allows us to feed the ladies the best feed possible during the 6 months of winter residence, and the remaining 6 months they get to graze or certified organic transitional irrigated fields.
We have always controlled weeds using hand pulling, chickens, turkeys, and encouraging competition.
Many farmers say they do this stuff, but then go spray weeds or use conventional fertilizer when it comes right down to it.
Many farmers claim to be using “organic” or “beyond organic” practices, but until they certify, you as a consumer are never really sure. There is no accountability or verification that 100% of that farmer’s practices are pure.
The bottom line – Assurance for you
Despite issues with the Certified Organic label by some bad actors and big corporations who have departed the original intent of organic certification, we believe it is still the best assurance out there that you and your family are getting the most wholesome and healthful product.
We look forward to completing all the paperwork and inspections necessary to label our product as such to give you assurance or our practices. The process is a three year transition for all of our fields and cows and May 2019 ends year 1 of the three year process!
Expect to see the USDA Organic label on our products in May 2021.