New Study Seeks to Document Organic Dairy Herd Health Practices

Dec. 4, 2018
Organic dairy herd health management is focus of new Ohio State study.

Documenting experiences from organic dairy farmers and herd health professionals

This project has been completed. See a summary of the results at

Optimizing animal health and welfare are main priorities for dairy producers, yet there is still a lot that is not known about organic dairy herd health management, and there is a lack of scientific research dedicated to herd health relevant for organic dairy farming.

Our goal is to learn about holistic organic dairy herd health management practices, and understand specific management decisions from a farmer and veterinarian perspective. Our research project is intended to raise awareness and appreciation for dairy farmers’ experiences under organic management, and will help us learn how to better support the organic dairy farming community, veterinarians, and other herd health specialists.

The core research questions of this project are:

  • How do organic dairy farmers make decisions around dairy herd health? 
  • What are their disease management strategies?
  • Where do they obtain information on dairy herd health?
  • What factors do farmers consider when deciding whether to vaccinate, use antibiotics, natural remedies, or other management strategies?
  • How do veterinarians work with these dairy farmers and what resources might improve their effectiveness?
  • What additional research might assist organic dairy farmers and those working with them?

To reach the goals of this research project, we are interviewing organic dairy farmers, as well as dairy professionals with organic clientele, on herd health management practices.

If you are an organic dairy farmer and/or dairy professional working with them, we need your help! If you would like to participate in this research study to help us highlight the organic dairy industry, or if you have suggestions for people we should contact, please contact any of the study team members listed below. Incentives for participants include a research summary report, a complimentary milk culture, disease protocols (if requested), and a $30 cash incentive.

Project Field Coordinators:

  • Dr. Jessica Pempek, OSU College of Veterinary Medicine (VPM);; 740-312-9311
  • Dr. Caroline Brock, OSU College of Food, Ag. & Env. Sciences (CFAES);; 608-772-1047