Organic Valley and Maine Organic Milling today announced they have opened their doors in the former Blue Seal facility in Auburn and begun offering organic feed to all Maine farmers. Maine Organic Milling is the first exclusively organic feed mill in the state.
Earlier this year, twelve Maine-based Organic Valley dairy farmers incorporated Maine Organic Milling, a local organic feed cooperative with the objective of producing high-quality, competitively-priced, organic feed right here in Maine. Its initial product offering is a bulk organic dairy concentrate delivered to regional organic dairy farms. A bagged organic feed program is also being developed for future sale.
“The relationship between Maine Organic Milling and Organic Valley represents a unique cooperative partnership,” said Lowell Rheinheimer, farm resources manager for Organic Valley. “It offers an example of two cooperatives working together for mutual benefit and to fulfill their common mission. This is what Organic Valley is all about – producing great consumer products and supporting organic family farmers. We’re delighted to have been able to support and assist in the formation of Maine Organic Milling and think it can play an important role in improving the profitability and security of Maine’s organic farmers.”
“When the Blue Seal mill in Auburn closed down last year, it left many Maine organic dairy farms with limited options,” said Steve Russell, an Organic Valley farmer-owner and member of the Maine Organic Milling Board of Directors. “As local, organic dairy farmers, it is essential to our businesses, and frankly to the survival of our farms, to source the highest quality organic feed for our animals at prices that keep us profitable. We need this feed mill right in our own backyard. Our cooperative model and the attitude of banding together is what keeps us and our farms together.”
Maine Organic Milling is governed by a five-member board of Organic Valley farmer-owners. Organic Valley will support Maine Organic Milling by sourcing raw ingredients, receiving and processing orders for feed, and conducting other administrative functions essential for the cooperative to achieve its goals. Feed is offered for sale at uniform prices to all farmers regardless of membership in Maine Organic Milling cooperative. Organic Valley currently has 36 farmer-owners in Maine.
Maine Organic Milling secured funding from a variety of sources, including farmer-invested equity, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food & Rural Resources Agricultural Marketing Loan Fund, the Finance Authority of Maine, other industry supporters and volunteer sweat equity.
“Maine Organic Milling is good for our state’s organic farmers, and it’s good for sustaining our agriculture in Maine,” said Seth Bradstreet, Maine’s state commissioner of agriculture. “And through these farmers’ efforts, the city of Auburn has the opportunity to revitalize their community.”
Farmers interested in sourcing feed from Maine Organic Milling should call the Organic Valley Farmer Hotline at 888-809-9297.
About Maine Organic Milling
Maine Organic Milling is a small cooperative of organic farmers in Maine who convened to create a local feed source for their farms. Established in 2009, Maine Organic Milling opened its organic feed mill in the former Blue Seal Feed, Inc., facility in Auburn, and currently offers bulk organic feed to all farmers. To order, please call the Farmer Hotline at 888-809-9297.
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 1,631 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 .