Organic Valley Celebrates the Next Generation of Organic Farmers

La Farge, Wis.
June 16, 2009
Contact P.R. Kristin Heinmets
work 612-372-6458 La Farge, Wis.

More than 30 Young Farmers from Throughout Midwest Gather at Holm Girls Dairy in Elk Mound, Wis.

Generation O (Gen-O), Organic Valley's next generation of organic farmers, came together on Saturday, June 13 at the Holm Girls Dairy farm in Elk Mound, Wis. for a day of learning, sharing and connecting through activities, including presentations by organic industry leaders, small-group strategy sessions, a farm tour and locally-grown, organic meals.

Fred Kirschenmann, longtime sustainable agriculture leader, author, and Distinguished Fellow for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, was the keynote speaker. He shared his excitement and passion for the new generation of young people who want to farm, and his efforts to make sure those who want to, can. He went on to say that America is standing on a new threshold, and it must move away from an industrialized economy to a new, innovative economy that uses less energy and is about romance, memory and trust rather than fast, convenient and cheap.

The day continued with a farm tour and presentation on the importance of holistic animal care by Dr. Sarah Slaby, a practicing large animal veterinarian who specializes in organic and sustainable agriculture. Dr. Slaby walked the attendees through a quick check-up with Autumn, one of the Holm's Jersey cows, and answered questions.

"The Organic Valley gathering was eye opening," said Preston Green, a 20-year-old Organic Valley farmer from Richland Center, Wis., and student at University of Wisconsin-River Falls. "Our speakers were amazing and the caliber of our young farmers was very inspiring. I feel like we now have the right tools to take on some tough challenges and grow Gen-O."

"The gathering was a very motivating event for the next generation of organic farmers," said Jake Wedeberg, a 24-year-old Organic Valley farmer from Gays Mills, Wis. "I think Organic Valley has made a huge impact in the organic movement, and it's our

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 1,332 farmers in 32 states and one Canadian province, and achieved $527 million in 2008 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, www.twitter.com/organicvalley and Facebook, www.facebook.com/pages/Organic-Valley/20674850824.

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Kristin Heinmets
Phone: 612-372-6458
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