396 Farmers Receive Recognition at the Independent, Farmer-Owned Cooperative's Annual Meeting
Organic Valley Family of Farms, America's largest cooperative of family farms and one of the nation's leading organic brands, recently recognized 396 of its farmer-owners, nearly 24 percent of its total members, with quality awards.
Organized in 1988, Organic Valley represents 1,652 farmers in 33 states and four Canadian provinces with the mission of saving family farms through organic farming. Approximately 300 of its farmer-owners descended upon La Crosse, Wis., last week to attend their annual meeting to discuss the cooperative's current direction, issues and goals for the year ahead.
Organic Valley dairy, produce, soy, egg, juice and feed crop farmers and Organic Prairie beef, poultry and pork farmers were recognized for 2009 quality achievements during an awards banquet on Friday of the annual meeting. Organic Valley honored its dairy farmers in Gold, Silver and Milk Quality Recognition categories. To achieve these honors, Gold Award recipients needed an average Somatic Cell Count (SCC) of less than 150,000; Silver Award recipients an average SCC between 151,000 and 200,000; and Milk Quality Recognition recipients an average SCC between 201,000 and 250,000. In addition, all levels had to achieve a Standard Plate Count average below 25 and a Preliminary Incubation Count averaging less than 30. All of the gold and silver winners received a plaque and the quality recognition winners received certificates for their accomplishments.
The following farmers received the top milk quality Gold Award, the "Cream of the CROPP," in each region:
- Eastern Region: Meyer Family, North Hardwick Dairy LLC, Hardwick, Vt.
- Midwest Region: Kevin and Mary Jahnke, Jahnke Family Farm Limited Partnership, Lancaster, Wis.
- Western Region: Greg and Marci Bingham, Bingham Farms, Weston, Idaho
The following farmers received Organic Valley's Top Egg, Produce, Feed Crop, Juice and Soy Quality Awards:
- Midwest Region Omega-3: Michael Miller, M&M Organic Farms, Wonewoc, Wis.
- Midwest Region: Chuck Voehl, Voehlganic Farm, Westby, Wis.
- East Region: Aaron Lapp, Allenwood, Penn.
- Kalona (Iowa) Pool: Marcus and Grace Kauffman, Kalona, Iowa
Produce Pool: Jonathan and Wilma Bontrager, Hillsboro, Wis.
Feed Crop: Greg and Teresa Brawner, Brawner Farms, Hannover, Ind.
Juice Pool: Roper Growers, Fla.
Soy Pool: Quality Organic Producers Cooperative (QOPC), Iowa
The following farmers received Organic Prairie's Top Beef, Pork and Poultry Quality Awards:
Beef Pool: Fred and Linda Pedretti and Jason and Courtney Pedretti, Genoa, Wis.
Pork Pool: Chuck Cornillie, Black Oak Farm, Byron, Mich.
Poultry Pool: Clint, Gary and Bill Welsh, Welsh Family Organic Farm, Lansing, Iowa
"Our Annual Meeting of all the farmer owners of Organic Valley is a gathering in which our family farmers across the country determine their future, have a say in their livelihoods and celebrate our collective success as a cooperative and for organic," said George Siemon, one of the founding farmers and chief executive officer for Organic Valley. "As such, it's the right time and place to present quality awards to recognize our strengths as individuals and as a whole. We're pleased to honor nearly 400 of our dedicated farmers who consistently went above and beyond to produce the best quality organic products possible last year."
Organic Valley also awarded the Ray Hass Organic Pioneer Award to Jerome McGeorge for his pioneering spirit and visionary work in the organic community. The Ray Hass Organic Pioneer Award is an annual memorial award given to an individual who is a pioneer in the organic movement and in the Cooperative. The award is named after Ray Hass, a founding member of Organic Valley and one of the very first organic dairy farmers in the United States. Ray's vision of a farmer-owned organic cooperative and his tireless work advocating for family farmers were important and critical aspects to the success of the cooperative.
Farmers, by state, receiving Organic Valley's Gold Dairy Quality Awards for 2009:
Bill and Michelle Van Ryn, Gawne Organic Dairy, Stockton
Greg and Marci Bingham, Weston
Kyle and Marie Knapp, H&S Dairy, Inc., Preston
Monroe and Lydia Ann Herschberger, Bloomfield
Roger and Lisa Garland, Vevay
Mervin Hochstetler, LaGrange
Alvin Shrock, Middlebury
Harley Shrock, Topeka
James Huber, Mount Hermon
Steve Morrison, Charleston
William and Sandra Osborne, Farmington
Lewis and Loretta Nuite, Atikinson
Paul and Michele Philbrick, Knox
Garin and Sarah Smith, Skowhegan
John and Beth Haynes, Claremont
Kathy Harrington, Stonewall Farm, Keene
Steven Bartlett, Earlville
Cliff and Patti Brunner, Sunny Slope Farm, Cooperstown
Richard and Lisa Bruno, Twin Farms, Cazenovia
Kevin Fuess, O'Riskany Falls
Siobhan Griffin, Raindance Farm, Schevenus
Irene Hurst, Locke
Les and Marge Miller, Richfield Springs
Vaughn and Sue Sherman, Dryden
Benjamin and Katherine Whitemore, Dead End Farm, Candor
Nick and Erica Wood, Woodhaven Jersey, Dundee
Robert and Rachel Yoder, Morrisville
Dave Colvin, Creston
Steve and Pat Gamby, Mt. Victory
Elmer Graber, Millersburg
Simeon and Laura Kanagy, Sunset Meadows, Shreve
Mark and Geneva Miller, Millersburg
Leroy and Rose Meyer, Ft. Loramie
Jerry L. and Mary Miller, Elm Grove Acres, Fredricksburg
Amos Jr. and Nora Nolt, Shiloh
Ron Pohl, Coldwater
Paul and Carol Schmitmeyer, Versailles
Mark and Linda Weaver, Dundee
Raymond Yoder, Jr., Dundee
Joseph and Martha Yoder, Butler
Thomas and Diana Brown, Myrtle Point
Devin and Elena Johnston, Spring Valley Farms, Tillamook
Ilene Knight, Bennett's Acres, Boring
Gary and Connie Moore, Boring
Richard and Jill Smith, Hermiston
Henry and Emma Beiler, Spring Mills
Todd Swartz, Broad Acres, East Waterford
James and Janet Byers, Mercersburg
Clellen and Rhoda Leh, Towanda
Wayne and Esther Weaver, Gray Stone Farm, Loysville
Bobbie and Harvey Wood, Mansfield
Alice and Laurance Allen, Wells River
Scott and Randy Bidwell, Morrisville
Stephen and Amelia Bothfeld, Fieldstone Organic Farm, Cabot
Tom and Bonnie Boutin, Newport Center
Dave and Elaine Callan, Mountain View Farm, Fairfield
Morgan and Jennifer Churchill, Fairfield
Leon and Linda Corse, The Corse Farm Dairy, LLC, Whitingham
Allen and Sandra Cutting, Irasburg
Andrew and Kathy De La Bruere, Derby
Joseph and Emily Donegan, Charlotte
Mike and Barbara Eastman, Addison
Earl, Susan and David Fournier, Swanton
Neil Fromm and Lenore Beers, Irasburg
Bob Grenon, North Troy
Roger and Patricia Le Blanc, Hazen Monument Farm, East Hardwick
Tim Maikshilo and Kristen Dellert, Coventry Valley Farm, Coventry
Mike and Teresa Menard, Fairfield
Ben Moulton and Amanda Taylor, Knox Ridge Holsteins, Troy
W. Silas Myrick, Bridport
Marcel and Gaetane Patenaude, Maple Cedar View, Derby Line
Meyer Family, North Hardwick Dairy, Hardwick
Mike and Carol Pettis, Fair Haven
Warren Rankin, Top Rankin' Farm, East Johnson
Karl and Anita Sjolander, St. Johnsbury
Paul and Kristine Stecker, Cabot
Tyler Webb, Enosburg Falls
Cortni and Alicia Whitehead, Fairfield
Walter and Irene Abplanalp, Ethel
Jim and Janie Austin, Austin Farms, Oakville
Gerald and Delores Bishop, Bishop Dairy, Chimacum
Gary and Susan Burkhalter, Grays River Holsteins, Rosburg
Matt and Robin Eldridge, Everson
Ross McMahan, Randle
Randy and Kimberly Peterson, North Fork Dairy, Arlington
Allen and Cheryl Voortman, Pride and Joy Dairy, Granger
Andy and Linda Styger, Chehalis
Dean Wesen, Wesen Organic Dairy, LLC, Bow
Daniel and Darlene Coehoorn, Rosendale
Leonard DeFere, DeFere Family Dairy, Sturgeon Bay
Robert and Jeann Farrar, La Farge
Jim and Tammy Fahey, Edgar
Marianne Hermann, Hixton
Rich and Ila Holman, Breezy Hills Farm of Baldwin, Baldwin
Martin and Wilma Hoover, Colby
Kevin and Mary Jahnke, Jahnke Family Farm, Lancaster
Ernerst L'Heureux, Fairview Farm, Iron River
John and Anna Mast, Boyd
William Morren and Patricia Laskowski, Hillsboro
Mike and Julie Petherbridge, Petherbridge Family Farm, Dresser
William Bogdonovich and Maria Stockbrand, Sunny Valley Farm, Willard
Robert, Jeanette and Caleb Winkel, Winkel Farms, Waupun
Organic Valley Family of Farms: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation's leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,652 farmers in 33 states and four Canadian provinces, and achieved $520 million in 2009 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meat under the Organic Prairie Family of Farms label. For further information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop, www.organicprairie.coop and the cooperative's farmer website, www.farmers.coop. Organic Valley is also on Twitter @Organic_Valley and Facebook www.facebook.com/OrganicValley .