Inspired to acquire organic certification by a long-standing quest to find “raw and organic” in the same bottle of milk, and never finding it anywhere. Many food producers claim ‘natural’ on their labels, this gives room for a whole range of understanding and interpretation of the word ‘natural’. The word organic is reserved and owned apparently by WSDA and can only be used by those who have gone through the certification and regulated process
Organic certification was a huge deal, and it took almost 2 years in the organic program. We are really proud we achieved it. Working through the program was complicated and technical and required a whole change of thinking. The scope and detail required in the program has affected every aspect of our dairy farm. Our first organic inspection took 8 hours, giving us a list of changes to be made. Everything the goats have access to has to be approved by WSDA Organic Program. Some of the fence posts we had started with had to be switched out for untreated ones, some micro-nutrients (minerals) were not approved, records of feed supplies had to cross reference organic receipts, DMR (dry matter requirement) and DMI (dry matter intake) values, percentage of feed from pasture, etc.
From a cost standpoint, being organic encompasses so much more than just what we feed the goats. I get asked if the goat dairy could make a profit. Fellow goat farmers laugh at that one, goat farming is a lifestyle choice, comes from a love of goats and is not profit driven
Testimony to the difficulty and expense of organic certification, I learned from WSDA that there were only 2 certified organic goat dairies in the whole of Washington State, now we are 3!
We are happy to be antibiotic free, and our goats are healthy and thriving with the use of natural herbal treatments as required, which we buy from a local company Fir Meadow, formulations crafted by Master Herbalist, therapist and writer Katherine Drovdahl
What next? With Grade “A” licensing in place, we may consider addressing GMO free verified program
There’s always plenty more badge projects, but all at a cost