PIXLEY, Calif. — The Vander Eyk Dairy, a 10,000-cow operation in California's Central Valley, has had its USDA Organic certification suspended by San Diego-based certifier Quality Assurance International. Vander Eyk, QAI and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have declined to cite specific violations of USDA organic rules that led to the suspension. However, industry experts speculate that the company's split operation, which milks conventionally raised cows and organically raised cows in the same facility, may have led to problems in the record-keeping needed to maintain organic status. The Vander Eyk Dairy has also long been a target of activist groups such as the Cornucopia Institute, which says the dairy violates organic standards by not allowing its cows regular access to pasture for grazing.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Government Accountability Office last week warned that ethanol production will consume 30% of the nation's corn crop by 2012 if production of the alternative fuel meets current Energy Department projections. In a report to Congress, the GAO said that such an increase “will likely exert additional upward pressure on corn prices, potentially influencing livestock feed markets and meat prices.” Echoing these concerns, last week a coalition of meat and poultry organizations launched a website, balancedfoodandfuel.org, that features a collection of articles and other resources outlining the economic impact of the current corn-ethanol policy on the food industry.