Organic Valley, the nation's largest cooperative of organic farmers and a leading organic brand, has completed the $6.7 million addition to its headquarters in La Farge, Wis. This development is a symbol of the co-op's steady growth and success, as well as its commitment to the vitality of rural communities.
"Expanding our headquarters is a reflection of our growth," said George Siemon, one of the founding farmers and C-E-I-E-I-O of Organic Valley. "As we serve more farmer-owners and meet increasing consumer demands for organic, naturally we need more employees. We're proud to bring new jobs right here to Southwest Wisconsin."
A Commitment to Sustainability, Inside and Out
Organic Valley's new 33,000 square foot space features a comprehensive research and development (R&D) facility complete with a sensory lab, processing lab capable of simulating product conditions, wet chemistry and microbiology lab, packaging laboratory and library, technical library and innovation room.
State-of-the-art green design elements include a solar window installation by Pythagoras Solar, an Organic Valley partner and provider of building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products that enable increased energy efficiency, renewable power generation and appealing aesthetics. The 20 solar windows in Organic Valley's new space will provide the co-op significant energy efficiency gains and optimized daylighting and shading for a more comfortable work environment.
A true demonstration of the co-op's commitment to green building, Organic Valley is currently working with Madison Environmental of Madison, Wis., and E3 Coalition of Viroqua, Wis., to pursue LEED Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (EBOM) certification for its entire headquarters facility, new and existing. Taking a more holistic view than traditional LEED certification, LEED EBOM measures performance of the building itself as well as behavior of the building's occupants.
Additional headquarters expansion features include low VOC finishes, water efficient bathroom fixtures and urinals, and an overall energy efficient design that makes the building 45 percent more efficient than the average similar commercial building.
Growth Beyond the Walls
Despite a down economy, Organic Valley continues to thrive. The co-op recently announced double-digit sales growth in 2011, with revenue reaching $715 million compared to $620 million in 2010. As sales increase and demand for organic grows, so does Organic Valley's membership base, including 212 new farmers joining the cooperative in 2011. More than 500 of Organic Valley's 1,687 farmer-owners are located in Wisconsin. Organic Valley's investment in sustainability also includes initiatives like the Cashton Greens Wind Farm, Wisconsin's first community wind project.
Organic Valley: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,687 farmers in 35 states and three Canadian provinces, and achieved $715 million in 2011 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. With its regional model, milk is produced, bottled and distributed right in the region where it is farmed to ensure fewer miles from farm to table and to support our local economies. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meat under the Organic Prairie 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 @OrganicValley and Facebook www.facebook.com/OrganicValley.