The following excerpt is from the USDA's Dairy Market News for the week of Aug. 19 to 23. Read the complete report here.

Total Organic Milk Products sales for June 2013, 179 million pounds, were up 5.8% from June last year. Organic Whole Milk sales for June 2013, 47 million pounds, were up 8.2% compared with June last year and up 8.9% year-to-date compared with last year.

Organic Reduced Fat Milk sales for May, 51 million pounds, were 12.6% above sales one year earlier and 9.7% above year-to-date sales last year. The weighted average advertised organic half-gallon milk price, $3.50, is down 14 cents from two weeks ago.

Conventional milk’s price for half gallons is $1.41, which results in an organic-conventional half-gallon price spread of $2.09, compared to $1.77 two weeks ago. Since the first week of May, conventional milk half gallon prices have varied within a 68.1% price range in contrast with organic half gallons, 6.8%.

More ads for organic gallons of milk occurred this period than any period since this survey period began during the fall of 2009, nearly four years ago. A closer examination of the ads reveals that nationwide, about 80% of the ads for organic gallons were run by a single national supermarket chain. Those ads included that chain’s private label brand of organic gallons in every ad, at prices ranging from $5.00 to $6.99, depending on location.

The national weighted average advertised price for organic gallons is $5.56, up from $5.00 two weeks ago but down from $5.72 one year ago. Organic milk half gallons of a national brand are now being sold in the cooler section of a national drugstore chain. This chain has frequently featured low prices for conventional milk relative to other outlets for milk, but organic milk is a new addition to the cooler.

Growth of the organic ice cream sector as well as confidence in growth potential, has now led to a Humboldt County California organic ice cream manufacturer only in business for several years, to engage in a national person-to-person promotional campaign. Retail demonstrators travel the country in trucks boldly painted to publicize the brand, appearing in stores of a national natural food store chain and offering samples of the organic ice cream to shoppers. Some of these outlets are now carrying as many as four brands of organic ice cream.