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I belong to... Western Organic Dairy Producers Alliance: Sean Mallett

Published on 11 March 2014

Western Organic Dairy Producers Alliance: Sean Mallett

Age: 41

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Location: Twin Falls, Idaho

History of your dairy, in a nutshell: My family started dairying in 1984 in Jerome, Idaho, milking 80 cows. My step-dad, John Reitsma, built a dairy empire over the next 20 years and owned four dairies, expanding the herd to 10,000 cows.

Weathering the ups and downs of the conventional dairy market, he decided to sell all the cows and dairies. We bought the land where our current organic dairy – Nature’s Harmony Organic Dairy LLC – sits in 2005 and began transitioning the land for organic use.

We built the dairy in 2007 and began milking in early 2008. It is designed to be a grazing dairy in order to meet the organic standards. I love what organic does for the cows and for the land.

“If I wasn’t a dairyman, I would be … ” a backcountry ski/snowboard guide in the winter and a stand-up paddle surf instructor in the summer.

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How long have you been a member of WODPA? I’ve been a member for three years but have only just begun contributing to the success of the organization over the past year.

Why did you join WODPA? WODPA is the only organization of its type that advocates for organic dairymen in the West. As organic dairymen, we must have a strong voice that advocates for our livelihoods so that we can leave our dairies to our children.

A little-known fact about WODPA is … the organization represents about 100,000 organic cows, which is more than half of the organic milk produced in the U.S.

My favorite representative or employee is … all the folks that I’ve worked with at WODPA are dedicated to furthering the organic cause.

What WODPA does best is … provide leadership on issues that can affect organic dairymen.

I feel valued as a member when … new dairies join the organization.

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An influential or interesting person I’ve met through WODPA is … Richard Mathews, WODPA’s executive director.

He is influential or interesting because … of his extensive experience working with the National Organic Program.

The organic dairy industry’s greatest opportunity is … affecting children positively and reversing the soda drinking trend and making organic milk “cool” and “in style” to drink. They’ll be doing something good for themselves in the process.

I hope my dairy legacy is … that I contributed to the organic dairy industry positively and that I leave the earth better than I found it. “The earth was not given to us by our grandparents, but was lent to us by our grandchildren.”

My advice to all dairymen/dairywomen is … always think outside the box, don’t just keep doing things the same way just because that’s the way you’ve always done them. Always strive to do better. PD

Western Organic Dairy Producers Alliance
2485 Notre Dame Blvd. • Suite 370-162
Chico, CA 95926

Year founded: 2006

Members: WODPA represents all organic dairy producers in the 12 Western states (Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Texas and Wyoming). Our membership includes around 240 organic dairy families.

Mission:
The mission of the Western Organic Dairy Producers Alliance is to preserve, protect, and ensure the sustainability and integrity of organic dairy farming across the West.

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