It is not uncommon for Vermont farmers to lease extra land they need, either for animals or crops. And in these economic times, farmers are getting more creative about their land deals.
This spring a herd of dairy cows appeared in this field in Essex which sits in the middle of several developments. It is the creative solution to a dairy dilemma.
"I moved the cows here in May, I have another farm in Highgate near the Canadian border and a few years ago I went the organic route, and with the new pasture rule we need so many acres to pasture our cows and I was short of land on the other farm so I started looking around where I could pasture my cows," said farmer Paul De La Bruere.
Marquez, Chief Marketing Executive of Organic Valley, will receive the OTA Organic Leadership Award in the “Growing the Organic Industry” category, while Quinn, President of Kamut® International, will receive the award in the “Growing Organic Agriculture” category. The 2010 Organic Leadership Award recipients will be honored at the OTA Annual Dinner and Dance on Friday, Oct. 15, during OTA Member Days activities at Natural Products Expo East in Boston. Recipients receive a hand-blown glass “planet” by artist Josh Simpson.
With the Dunn County Fair just around the corner, these Elk Meadow 4-Hers are hard at work getting ready
The Dunn County Fair starts this week, and 4-H members across the county are working hard to get their projects completed in time.
Some have more projects than others. On the last weekend before the fair, life was already busy enough for the six Holm sisters with normal farm chores, running the Holm Girls Dairy and getting ready to go on a family camping trip.
“Converting over to organic also involves more record keeping,” Landis said, explaining how growing organic means a need for a paper trail that shows where everything came from. While he has no contracts yet with any organic companies, Landis expects to be certified later this year and is communicating with Organic Valley.
The Welsh family of Lansing, Iowa, will be named as one of five recipients of The Way We Live Award at the 2010 Iowa State Fair. The family will be honored in an award ceremony on Saturday, August 21, at 10:30 a.m. on the Christensen Farms Stage in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center. "Non Stop Fun" is set for August 12-22.
The Way We Live Award recognizes industrious Iowa families who demonstrate a daily dedication to animal agriculture and exemplify farm values derived from hard work and a love for the occupation of farming. Entrants were asked to submit a short essay describing how living on a farm and choosing the occupation of farming has shaped their family's life. Five recipients were chosen from a pool of entries representing a variety of commodities and locations throughout Iowa.
George Siemon isn't just in the business of organic milk. As the CEO of Organic Valley, he has shepherded the company to its own organic brand of leadership and corporate culture. In 1988, Siemon was a dairy farmer who started a cooperative with a few neighbors in the Kickapoo Valley of Wisconsin. That venture grew into Organic Valley, a 550-employee company with $530 million in sales last year. The company has gotten big, but not exactly corporate. Siemon is more likely to cite homespun wisdom about driving draft horses more than management theories on driving growth.
During the recession, the market for organic milk tanked, along with the rest of the economy. In an unprecedented move, Organic Valley, the country's largest organic dairy, told the 1,600 farmers that supply it with milk to cut their production by 7 percent. The cut enabled the company to keep paying the same rate for the milk it purchased, which is about twice what conventional milk sells for.
Last week, Organic Valley announced that farmers could go back to 100 percent production beginning Aug. 1 in light of improved market conditions. "Raising the quota is a great accomplishment for our farmer-owned cooperative, and a testament to our democratic process, said company "C-I-E-I-O," George Siemon, in a press release. "One year ago, we committed to create a sustainable solution through a supply management program to avoid farmer pay cuts."
George Siemon, CEO of the Organic Valley Co-op of 1,600 farmers, is not worried that consumers trying to save money will abandon organic milk and other products for lower cost non-organic foods. While sales growth did slow during the recession, Siemon says demand for organic products is connected less to the business cycle and more to how educated customers are about food. “Organics is an education issue, not a recession issue,” he says in an interview at Bloomberg’s offices in New York today.
Six Democratic senators and 50 House member are urging Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack not to approve the commercialization of Monsanto Co.’s genetically modified alfalfa. The Supreme Court this week cleared the way for Vilsack too permit the sale of the biotech seed again by lifting a judge’s nationwide ban on the crop.
Organic Valley member and spokesman Jon Bansen, co-owner of Double J Jerseys in Oregon, is quick to agree that raw milk is "the hot topic of all times in the dairy industry."
But Bansen said that when all is said and done, the board's vote wasn't about the safety of raw milk or consumers' rights to choose what they eat or drink but rather what the mission of the cooperative is: organic dairy farmers banding together to market their milk under a common brand.
"We're not in the business of selling raw milk," Bansen said. "It's not our business model."
Bansen said some members have been making a business of selling raw milk and using Organic Valley to balance out their milk supply.