Organic Valley, America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation’s leading organic brands, honored 573 of its farmer-owners with 2011 Quality Awards at the Cooperative’s Annual Meeting award banquet on March 30th in La Crosse, Wis. Producers of CROPP Cooperative (Organic Valley and Organic Prairie brands) dairy, produce, soy, eggs, juice, grain, and meat were recognized for 2011 quality achievements.
“Annual meeting is an opportunity to celebrate the farmers who set the bar for quality in the organic community this year,” said George Siemon, founding farmer and C-E-I-E-I-O for Organic Valley. “Again and again, our farmer-owners demonstrate their commitment to organic and make this cooperative what it is today.”
For milk quality, Organic Valley honored its dairy farmers in “Cream of the CROPP,” Gold, Silver, Bronze and Quality Recognition categories. To achieve these honors, Gold Award recipients needed an average somatic cell count (SCC) of less than 100,000; Silver Award recipients, an average between 101,000 and 150,000; Bronze Award recipients, an average between 151,000 and 200,000; and Milk Quality Recognition recipients, an average between 201,000 and 240,000. In addition, all milk had to achieve a standard plate count average below 20,000, a preliminary incubation count averaging less than 30,000 and a laboratory pasteurized count average below 100. All Gold, Silver and Bronze winners received a plaque, and the Quality Recognition winners received certificates for their accomplishments.
“Cream of the CROPP” Awards were given to the farm with the best milk quality in each of Organic Valley’s six quality regions:
Northeastern Region: Meyer Family, North Hardwick Dairy, Hardwick, Vt.
Mideastern Region:David VanderZanden, Casnovia, Mich.
North Central Region: Dale and Carmene Pangrac and Andrew and Kimberly Olson, Prime Pastures Organic Dairy, Utica, Minn.
Wisconsin Region: Kevin and Mary Jahnke, Jahnke Family Farm Limited Partnership, Lancaster, Wis.
Western Region: William, Ross and LeAnna McMahan, Cowlitz Meadows Dairy, Inc. #1, Randle, Wash.
Southern Region: Duane, Phillip and Therese Witmer, Grazeland Dairy, Inc., Dayton, Va.
The following farmers received Organic Valley’s top egg, produce, grain, juice and soy Quality Awards:
- Midwestern Region Omega-3: Tim and Cheryl Trussoni, Genoa, Wis.
- Midwestern Region: David R. Wegner, La Farge, Wis.
- Eastern Region: Aaron G. Stoltzfus, Willow Street, Pa.
- Kalona Region: Marcus Kauffman, Kalona, Iowa
Produce Pool: Urias Miller, Hillsboro, Wis.
Grower Pool (Grain): Robin and Karen Brekken, Robin Brekken Farms, Inc., Crookston, Minn.
Juice Pool: Charlie Roper, Roper Growers Cooperative, Winter Garden, Fla.
Soy Pool: Wayne Wangsness, Quality Organic Producers Cooperative, Decorah, Iowa
The following farmers received Organic Prairie’s top beef, pork, turkey, broiler, and cull cow Quality Awards:
Beef: Gary Bakken, Decorah, Iowa
Pork: Jim and Sheila Campbell and Family, JC & F Organics, Rewey, Wis.
Turkey: Bob Jewell, Jewell Enterprises, Inc., Decorah, Iowa
Broiler: Gary Welsh, Welsh Family Organic Farms, Lansing, Iowa
Cull Cow: John and Veronica Hellerman, Melrose, Minn.
Organic Valley also awarded the Ray Hass Organic Pioneer Award to Jim Wedeberg from Gays Mills, Wis., for his pioneering spirit and visionary work in the organic community. Jim is a founding farmer of Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative and currently serves the co-op as dairy pool director. He recently passed his farm on to his children, the next generation of sustainable agricultural leaders.
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 cooperative and his tireless work advocating for family farmers were critical to the success of the Cooperative.
Farmers, by state, receiving Organic Valley’s Gold Dairy Quality Awards for 2011 include:
Douglas and Linda Hartkopf, Albion
T. Garin and Sarah Smith, Skowhegan
Samuel and Wilma Schmucker, Mio
Jason D. Vanneste, Vanneste Dairy Farm, Dewitt
Josh Cline, Glenn Yardley and Kathy Harrington, Stonewall Farm, Keene
Vaughn Sherman, Jerry Dell Farm, Inc. Freeville, Dryden
Bradley and Kathryn Kent, Burke
Mark Lewis and Karen Hoxie, North Bangor
Lloyd Gingerich Farm 2, Belle Center
Devin and Elena Johnston, Tillamook
Jon and Julianne Bansen, Double J Jerseys, Inc., Monmouth
Peter and Kelly Mahaffy, Coos Bay
David P. Jr. and Susie K. Stoltzfus, Myerstown
Marc and Carol Jones, Jones Family Farm LLC, St. Albans
Dave and Elaine Callan, Fairfield
Regis and Rita Lamoureux, West Charleston
Ben O. Moulton and Amanda Taylor, North Troy
Tyler and Melanie Webb, Enosburg Falls
Andrew, Lisa and Josiah Sherman, East Dover
Alice H. and Laurance E. Allen, Wells River
Leon, Linda and Abbie Corse, The Corse Family Dairy, LLC, Whitingham
David and Tina Houde, St. Johnsbury
Walter and Irene Abplanalp, Ethel
Peter and Dorene Dykstra, Hopewell Farm, LLC, Everson
Randy and Kimberly Peterson, Arlington
Joseph Andrew and Linda J. Styger, Chehalis
James and Ronald Austin, Austin Family Farm, LLC, Oakville
Daniel and Darlene Coehoorn, Rosendale
Lyle Holtz, Wisconsin Rapids
Richard J. and Jean A. Anhalt, New Holstein
Joas M. and Lydia E. Miller, Mondovi
Mike and Julie Petherbridge, Dresser
Sidney L. and Miriam B. Nolt, Greenwood
Robert L. and Lori A. Prahl, Luxemburg
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.