Pleasant Meadow Creamery has certified organic hay fields and pastures.
All veterinary care follows certified organic and holistic protocols in most cases. We use two consulting organic veterinarians from Wisconsin for both animal and field health, and use a local vet in Bonners Ferry for the things that are needful as far as hands-on care of the animals.
Our certifying agency for the hay is the Idaho State Department of Agriculture:
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 most, but not all of our cow health problems are able to be dealt with either through homeopathic remedies, or National Organic Program allowed drugs. Being in this broken world, there are those times and certain diseases that will kill cattle faster than a fully natural solution has time to act. Thus, we’ve made the decision to certify all our hay fields and pastures as organic, but not the cows themselves.
Feed and Bedding
In 2019, we 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 most of our hay, and we purchase very little, and only when there is a shortfall.
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. In drought years, we purchase supplemental certified organic hay from Montana.
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 when it comes to plants and soil.
We wish we lived in a perfect world where we could certify the cows, but there are those few times where being able to timely reach for an antibiotic means life for a cow who might otherwise die. Rest assured we carefully make those decisions with best interests of customers and cows in mind.