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

Gardening Asanas

Overdoing garden work can produce aches and pains, but by integrating yoga positions while planting and weeding, we can emerge pain-free after hours of being on our knees and bending.

Indigenous Wisdom

Indigenous elders from around the world meet together to pass down four sacred gifts of wisdom we would do well to heed.

Nature’s Remedies

Creatures in the wild ranging from microbes to elephants cope with parasites, pests and pain using natural substances; it all suggests why our preserving the natural world is good for us, too.

Healthy Climate, Healthy People

As the Earth slowly heats up, we’re being affected by rising allergens, disaster-related trauma and the increase in insects carrying dangerous diseases.

Whole Grains Help Us Eat Less

When overweight Danes exchanged refined grain products such as white bread and pasta for whole-grain equivalents, they tended to feel full sooner, eat less, lose weight and have less inflammation.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags