Why Organic Milk Costs More than Conventional – and Why it’s Absolutely Worth It

This is my second post about the Stonyfield Farm Tour I recently had the honor of attending. You can read Part One of My Stonyfield Trip post here.

When I tell people that I write a blog focused on how to have a healthy lifestyle AND save money doing it, the question that I am most frequently asked is: Why is organic milk SO expensive? Do you really buy all organic food?

Organic Milk

The answer to the second question is easier than the first. No, I do not buy ALL organic food. Not every fruit or vegetable that enters my home is organic. And I indulge in candy or chocolate as much as anyone I know. However, there is one category of food that I ALWAYS choose organic for: DAIRY.

(To an extent, I always choose organic for meat, however, I’ve been trying to decrease our consumption of meat in general).

Why organic dairy? I’ve done the research, and I learned from organic dairy farmers on the Stonyfield Farm Tour, and everything points to the fact that organic dairy is far superior nutritionally to conventional.

Here’s why organic dairy is absolutely worth the cost:

  • It’s good for the environment –  organic dairy farming practices decrease the amount of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer in the soil to the tune of 10 million pounds.  In addition, it avoids 200,000 pounds of toxic persistant pesticides.
  • It’s good for animals – organic dairy farms, unlike ANY OTHER TYPE of dairy farms, are required to pasture their cows during pasture season. This means 50% of the cow’s diet is from pasture grasses. These grasses are what fortifies the milk with a huge array of healthy fatty acids. Happy cows make healthy milk. In addition, the life span of an organic dairy cow is longer, and their life is healthier, than conventional cows.

Organic MIlk

 (Happy Cows at Wolfe’s Neck Farm)

  • It’s good for people – Organic milk has 62% more omega 3 fatty acids than conventional milk. Since the cows are not exposed to pesticides or antibiotics, we are not ingesting those toxins when we drink the milk or consume other milk-based products.

A fresh cup of raw, organic, whole milk from Winsome Farms

(A cup of raw, organic whole milk from Winsome Farms)

So why does organic milk cost more?

  • Feed prices – only organic feed is allowed, and organic feed can cost 3-6 times more than conventional.
  • Because there are so few organic farms, distribution and processing costs are higher. This is part of the reason why Stonyfield is partnering directly to support local family organic dairy farms.

Organic Milk

  • Labor – Organic farmers are not allowed to use toxic pest control, antibiotics, or synthetic fertilizers. They need to control pests and weeds in a natural way which takes much more time and energy. In addition, farmers need to be proactive instead of reactive, to prevent issues that may take a cow out of organic production.

Greg from Winsome Farms attending to one of his "girls."

 

I’ve committed to only purchasing organic dairy products for my family. Is there anything you HAVE to buy organic? Why?

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Comments

  1. Great post! I’m the same way, any meat or dairy that enters my house is organic, but there are some fruits and vegetables I buy conventional depending on their skin type!

  2. Do you know why most organic milk ultra pasteurized instead of just pasteurized? The only organic milk that I can find that is not homogenized and ultra pasteurized is Kalona SuperNatural.

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