The roosters strut around like they own the place. Tom and Irene Frantzen don't mind.
Their feathered friends are a reason why they love to farm. While agriculture is a business, the Frantzens say the animals and land they care for are more than just dollars to them. They're a way of life.
It's this philosophy, they believe, that will ensure the success of the farm and entire community for generations. Practical Farmers of Iowa like the Frantzens' way of thinking.
The farm organization presented the couple with its 2011 Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award in January for "creating vibrant communities, healthful food and diverse farms." Based in Ames, Practical Farmers promotes profitable, ecologically sound and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture.
What made me happiest wasn't any new thing (although, Organic Valley wins the best overall booth award because of their summer sausage and because of the two full mugs of hot organic coffee they gave me when I needed it most). What made me happiest was hearing all the talk of uniting and fighting together to protect the integrity of organic and defend ourselves from toxic chemical attack. It was clear that this is a strong, growing, powerful, and united industry that has finally found its voice and learned how to prioritize the issues.
With over 50,000 products in the average supermarket, people don't have the time, or the money, to test every product on the shelves and with 15,000 new products every year consumers need to know what's out there! Phil Lempert does the testing and the tasting for you and gives the product a rating out of 100 so you know what you can expect when you try something new!
Organic Valley's new Hazelnut Half & Half rates 95 points on Phil's 3/16/2011 segment. "A nice clean flavor with no aftertaste makes a delicious combination that you could even drink all by itself! Just the right amount of hazelnut and Amaretto flavors." It's a HIT!
Turns out, the secret ingredient of Pete and Kelly Mahaffy's fertile 200-acre dairy farm - a member of the Organic Valley co-op - is waste product from seafood processors.
Six to eight truck loads a day deliver shells and shrimp husks to their dairy farm on the Coos River during crab season's peak.
It's a nutrient-rich, slowly decomposing fertilizer the couple spreads thinly over pastures during the rainy months.
Sunny Cove Organic Farm located on Randolph Road won fourth place, $2,000 in the nationwide Grant-A-Wish contest sponsored by Organic Valley and Stonyfield Farm.
The Grant-A-Wish contest asked organic farmers to submit ideas to help their farms maintain sustainability for a chance to win a top prize of $10,000. Two $7,500 and three, $2,000 prizes were awarded. There were 72 entries from 17 states stretching from Maine to California and the Sunny Cove plan was the only one chosen from western New York as a finalist. Sunny Cove Farm is operated by Jerry and Dottie Snyder and their eight children and has been organic since 2002.
An eastern Guilford County farm is the grand winner of a national contest sponsored by Stonyfield.
Reedy Fork Farm, operated by the Teague family in Elon, won the Stonyfield Organic Farmers Grant-a-Wish Program. The Teagues will receive $10,000, which they will use to build a new, energy efficient feed mill to process organic grains for other organic dairy farmers in the southeast, as well as livestock growers and small farmers looking for local, organic feed.
"There's reality and there's perception," says George Siemon, CEO of Organic Valley, one of the country's biggest organic food companies. "And the perception is, consumers are saying they don't want any pollution in organic products. And whether that's realistic or not is another matter. But for sure, consumer perception is a real concern." Siemon cited a survey in which 77 percent of organics consumers said they would stop buying organic food if it contained GMOs.
Jerry and Dotty Snyder of Sunny Cove Farm in Alfred are national finalists in the Grant A Wish contest, sponsored by Organic Valley and Stonyfield Farm.
The Snyders are one of six organic dairy farm finalists in the running to win $10,000 to fund a “dream” project to make their farm more environmentally sustainable.
A Greensboro area family is one of six organic dairy farm finalists in a national Grant A Wish contest, sponsored by Organic Valley and Stonyfield Farm.
If they win, the Teague family could collect up to $10,000 to fund a 'dream' project for their farm. George and Cherry Teague, along with their son Taylor, operate an 800-acre organic dairy on Reedy Fork Farm in Gibsonville.
George Teague said if they win, he wants to get an energy efficient feed mill on their farm to process certified organic grains for other southeastern organic dairy farmers, livestock growers, and small farmers looking for local, organic feed.
Tim Zweber, 28, hopes to win one of two grand prizes in the contest. In order to do that, he needs people to go to www.CarharttRental.com and vote for him. People can vote as often as they like through the cutoff just before midnight Feb. 28.
Zweber is a partnership with his father, Jon, in Zweber Farms LLC. His mother, Lisa, and his wife, Emily, also work on the farm. They milk 110 cows, selling their milk to Organic Valley. They keep about 30 percent of their bull calves and also raise chickens and hogs. Beef, pork and chicken are marketed direct to consumers from the farm.