Organic milk shortage felt locally

WASHINGTON – Signs are appearing on refrigerator doors at some local grocery stores warning of supply issues for organic milk.

The ongoing, record-breaking drought in California means organic farmers are facing tough times. In addition to drinking a lot of water, organic dairy cattle need to eat organic hay and graze for a portion of their food to be certified organic. With dry weather continuing, water, hay and grazing land are all harder to come by.

Albert Straus, founder and CEO of Straus Family Creamery and Dairy in Marin, Calif., told E&E News he expects organic milk and other organic product prices to increase in response to the water, hay and grazing land shortages caused by the drought.

California has suffered three years of below-normal rainfall. Much of California remains in either extreme or exceptional drought conditions, according to the U.S. Federal Drought Monitor. The entire state is at some level of drought.

California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. declared a drought state of emergency in January.

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