“Organic milk prices stay basically the same. Conventional production pays by what is going on with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), basically cheese prices,” says Bansen, who has been a dairy farmer for twenty years. Eleven years ago he joined Organic Valley. Since then, the co-op has grown exponentially. “When I started we had 205 members; now it has grown by leaps and bounds, with 1,600 members today.”
Pricing and slim margins cause the Willamette Valley to lose family dairies like Mallorie's in Silverton. The life of a big dairy farmer is a busy one with a lot of overhead. “The reasons why most farmers don’t operate like Mallorie's did is because you have to be big to get all the jobs done. Running a dairy is work. You have to figure out the processing, hauling, have a sales team ... rarely does a family have someone who is qualified and wants to fill all the unique positions,” says Bansen.
George Siemon, the CEO of Organic Valley, slammed the rulings, saying that the authorization of GMO sugar beets and alfalfa represents “a clear indication that the USDA is more interested in protecting the biotech industry than the health, safety, environment, and property rights of U.S. farmers and consumers who choose not to grow or consume GMOs.” For Alaskans, the approval of these new commodities sends a clear signal that the administration intends to move forward with its support of Aquabounty’s Frankenfish.
The Beidler Family Farm is counting on your vote. The Randolph farm is among a group of six finalists picked from a pool of 72 Organic Valley dairy farms across the country. The winner-- determined by popular vote-- gets $10,000 to build the project of their dreams.
"So I was very surprised to see ourselves as one of the finalists-- surprised and pleased," Brent Beidler said.
The Beidlers' big wish in the Organic Valley competition is to buy new seed cleaning equipment.
Minnesota's recent Organic Conference set an attendance record in St. Cloud with close to 500 people turning out for the two-day event.
Participants were also enthusiastic about the industry's future, said George Siemon, a keynote speaker at the event.
Siemon is a founding member of the Cooperative Regions of Organic Producer Pools, which sells products through its brands Organic Valley and Organic Prairie.
Yesterday, we put up a post discussing allegations from the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) that Stonyfield Farm, Organic Valley, and Whole Foods broke away from the organic community to support "co-existence" with Monsanto's genetically modified alfalfa, a toxic pesticide-resistant crop used as hay for cattle. Now Stonyfield and Organic Valley have responded to explain their point of view on what really happened in the battle against GE alfalfa.
Late last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the deregulation of "Roundup Ready" Alfalfa, a controversial genetically engineered product that is used as hay for cattle. The move has the potential to challenge the integrity of what can be considered an "organic food"—as well as those who are in the business of producing and selling it.
We stand united in opposition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to once again allow unlimited, nationwide commercial planting of Monsanto's genetically engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa, despite the many risks to organic and conventional farmers.
My colleagues and I will continue to fight to protect the organic farmers who grow healthy food and the consumers who have every right to choose organic. We will continue to push for unbiased scientific findings about the harmful effects of GE crops. And we will work hard to give our consumers the assurances they need that organic remains free of anything genetically engineered. The battle will now move from the government agencies back to the courts, but we also need new and stronger legislation that addresses toxic herbicides, and threats to biodiversity, seed protection and other ecological costs.
Stonyfield and Organic Valley, the organic farming cooperative that produces milk for all Stonyfield products, selected six finalists from a pool of 72 farmer submissions representing 17 states from California to Maine. Farmers' submissions were judged on their projects' environmental impact, ability to sustain organic farming practices, and innovation.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Thursday that he would authorize the unrestricted commercial cultivation of genetically modified alfalfa, setting aside a controversial compromise that had generated stiff opposition.
In making the decision, Mr. Vilsack pulled back from a novel proposal that would have restricted the growing of genetically engineered alfalfa to protect organic farmers from so-called biotech contamination. That proposal drew criticism at a recent Congressional hearing and in public forums where Mr. Vilsack outlined the option.