The Gen-O Award has been created to recognize individual young farmers in CROPP Cooperative who have demonstrated their commitment to organic farming and preserving the family farm and rural community through leadership, stewardship and innovation. As we look to the future of farming, we feel it is vitally important to acknowledge the farmers of tomorrow who will ensure that delicious, local, and sustainable organic food choices exist for generations to come.
Mitch is a fourth generation farmer at Morning Star Organic Farm, in Richfield, Idaho, which was homesteaded by his grandfather in 1907. The family dairy farm officially transitioned to organic in 2006, though much of what they were doing was already the organic way. Mitch and his wife, Acee, recently inherited a 120-acre farm where they are raising organic turkeys and plan to grow hay and pasture for the family dairy. They also are exploring on-farm sustainability practices, including wind power and water conservation. Further, Mitch's commitment to organic farming goes beyond the farm. He advocates for organics and sustainability in his role serving on various local committees, as an Idaho Dairy Industry Ambassador and on the board of Leadership Idaho Agriculture.
Matt has been organic dairying at Hidden Valley Jerseys Farm in Lanesboro, MN, since 2002. Prior to that, he also produced organic vegetables for 5 years. Matt has incorporated several sustainable practices on their farm, including rotational grazing and maximizing forage and sod to prevent erosion and build soil. In addition, Matt has also been active in various opportunities within CROPP, including participating in the Farmer Ambassador Program and serving on the Dairy Executive Committee (DEC) as one of the Minnesota representatives. Finally, Matt is also committed to sharing his experience and knowledge with other farmers in his community, especially young farmers who are just getting started.
Casey has basically grown up farming organically on his family's farm, Cobblestone Valley Farm, in Preble, NY, which transitioned when he was 11 years old. Casey is involved with nearly every aspect of the farm, from milking, planting and harvesting, and helping with the farm's direct-marketing ventures. Because organic farming has been such an integrated aspect of Casey's upbringing, he is eager to share his enthusiasm for it, whether it's just talking with friends and family, making formal presentations to groups, or representing Organic Valley as a farmer ambassador. In addition, as President of the Whole Earth Club at Onondaga Community College, Casey is working to implement a number of environmentally sustainable programs, such as composting and eliminating plastic water bottles.