Pleasant Meadow Creamery has certified organic hay fields and pastures.
Our certifying agency for the grass hay and pastures is the Idaho State Department of Agriculture:
We do not certify the cows, products, nor do we necessarily search out certified organic hay aside from that which we grow.
Why? In other parts of the world, organic cows can be treated with effective pharmaceutical antibiotics and returned to the organic herd after extended withdrawal period. In the US, this is not the case. Once a certified organic cow is treated with antibiotics, she is forever removed from the organic herd. We do not view this as sustainable, and the reality is there are numerous cattle diseases that, for the welfare of the animal, are better treated with the amazing conventional treatments we are blessed to have available versus certified organic treatments which are not nearly as efficacious.W
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.
For feed, our cows graze our irrigated certified organic grass and clover pastures during about 5 months of the year, and are otherwise supplemented with certified organic hay which we grow, plus purchased hay which may or may not be certified organic, and certified organic grain in quantities no greater than about 10 pounds per day per cow.
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.
We struggle with weeds, to be sure – given that there are plenty of noxious weed seeds in abundance, particular Canada thistle floating in from surrounding fields and loving our irrigated healthy soils, but we will always treat these without the use of conventional herbicides.
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, or restoration to perfect health in a short period of time versus an organic treatment taking an extended period of time without assurance of success.
Rest assured we carefully make those decisions with best interests of customers and cows in mind.