The birth of an organic calf on Dec. 12 wouldn’t be news, except for the fact that it was the first organic calf born on the nation’s first organic dairy research farm at the University of New Hampshire.
Now, for a price, you can name the cute little heifer — a worthwhile expense, if you follow the research money in organic ag.
Last time I looked, the USDA spent over $2 billion on conventional ag research. Right now the Organic Farming Research Foundation is drumming up support to get an additional $3.1 million added to the $2 million appropriated for organic ag research last year. The Senate Appropriations Committee had recommended an increase of only $98,000 — roughly equivalent to the set aside for paper clips at the USDA.
The money in organic dairy is especially needed, because it’s among the fastest growing sectors of the organic food industry and a lifeline to dairy farmers in places like New England.
Rather than depend on the fickle USDA, the University of New Hampshire is looking to raise a bit more outside money to fund its research. So they are auctioning off the rights to name the calf on Ebay. So far the bidding’s at $62. The auction closes on December 21.