Steffen Schneider has been farming biodynamically for 30 years. Schneider’s practices include allowing mothers to rear their calves. Farmers practice careful breed selection; their herds have horns. Daily rotational grazing offers mixed forage. The modern barn at Hawthorne Valley Farm welcomes natural light and benefits from manure management with pigs. Everything on the farm strives for an ideal balance.
Schneider shared his experience at the NOFA Summer Conference at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst in August 2013. [Read more about the farm's dairy operation here.]
Small farmers across America will feel the impacts of Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules. In a recent webinar, Lori Babcock, co-owner of Tieton Farm & Creamery in Tieton, WA described the devastating impact of large Food & Drug Administration (FDA) fees and FSMA recordkeeping burdens on her livestock farm and dairy. She shared her concerns in a webinar called “FSMA – Its Impact on Artisan Cheesemakers” hosted by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Office of Compliance & Outreach in mid-September.
Cheesemaking is an ancient craft. Microbes work their magic on milk and basic ingredient creating a variety of tasty, nutritious cheeses. Different microbes used to make cheese affect its flavor as do the animal’s breed, forage, minerals and water. European cheesemakers can use and reuse wicker baskets and boards to make their aged cheeses. In America, cheesemalkers must compete with those products while our rules require stainless steel and plastic containers. Large commercial operations use modern equipment and steel tanks to comply with sanitation and food safety rules. “Their products may be safe, but their cheese doesn’t taste like anything,” said
FSMA shifts the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) focus from reactive to preventive action. [Read more here.]