More than 370 Farmer-Owners Receive Recognition
Organic Valley Family of Farms, the nation's largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation's leading organic brands, recently recognized 370 of its farmer-owners, more than 36 percent of its total members, with quality awards.
Organic Valley dairy, produce, soy, egg, juice and feed crop farmers and Organic Prairie beef, poultry and pork farmers were recognized last week during an awards banquet at its annual meeting in La Crosse, Wis., honoring the farmers for their 2008 quality achievements. All of the gold and silver winners received a plaque and the quality recognition winners received certificates for their accomplishments.
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.
Farmers who received the top milk quality Gold Award in each region are
- 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: Andy and Linda Styger, Styger Family Dairy Farm, Chehalis, Wash.
The Meyers have won their respective regional award for the third year in a row.
"The delicious flavor and outstanding quality of our Organic Valley and Organic Prairie products is the result of the meticulous care and pride with which all of our farmer-owners produce their products," said George Siemon, one of the founding farmers and chief executive officer for Organic Valley. "We're pleased to honor more than 370 of our dedicated farmers who consistently went above and beyond to produce the best organic products possible last year."
Organic Valley also awarded the "Ray Hass Organic Pioneer Award" to Bert Roper, Organic Valley orange grower in Winter Garden, Fla. 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, one of the founding members of Organic Valley and one of the very first organic dairy farmers in the United States. His 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.
A complete list of all awards can be downloaded here.
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.