Organic Valley farmer-owners, Delmar and Theresa Westaby, are proud to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Westaby Family Farms, the Stockton, Ill. organic dairy that has been in their family for five generations. The Westabys will host a private celebration to commemorate this milestone at their farm Saturday, Aug. 13.
“We’re both honored and humbled to celebrate this amazing milestone with our family, friends and community members,” said Delmar Westaby. “This anniversary makes us reflect back and think about our great-great grandfather, William, a young man with dreams who cleared the land with his hands, a spade and a work horse. This is the same land we drive our tractors on; the land his children and ours have played, worked and grown up on. We wonder what he would think of the farm today. Even though he died young, he left behind a lasting legacy of the love for farming.”
Westaby Family Farm was born on Jan. 1, 1861 when William Richard Westaby, an English immigrant, purchased 40 acres of farmland in what is now Jo Daviess County in northwestern Illinois. These first 40 acres soon grew to be more than 320 – the same 320 acres the family farms on today.
William was succeeded by his son, Charles, who built the farmhouse the Westaby family currently lives in. After Charles, the farm was passed down three more generations, from Ralph in 1920, to Wayne in 1961, and finally to Delmar in 2001, who currently works and resides there with his wife, Theresa, and two sons, Austin, 21, and Braden, 17. Daughters Kaleena, 23, and Ceara, 19, also have played a role in helping make the Westaby Family Farm what it is today.
In 2002, Delmar and Theresa became members of Organic Valley. “The cooperative has allowed us to celebrate our 150-year-old farm this year, and we can't thank Organic Valley enough for that,” added Theresa. “Without Organic Valley, we would have ended with tears.”
“It’s farmers like Delmar and Theresa Westaby who make me so proud of our co-op’s successful mission to save family farms,” said George Siemon, one of the founding farmers and C-E-I-E-I-O for Organic Valley. “In a time when bigger is supposedly better, the Westabys prove that small, organic family farms are not extinct, but they are thriving in rural communities across America. My hope for the Westaby family is that their children farm, and their grandchildren farm, and that we keep the land in organic for generations to come, growing beautiful, delicious and healthy food.”
“Our hope for the next 150 years is that the farm continues to thrive, provide a living and is enjoyed and appreciated by many more Westaby generations to come,” said Delmar, who will be passing the land on to his sons when their times come.
Organic Valley Family of Farms: 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 1,636 farmers in 34 states and three Canadian provinces, and achieved $619 million in 2010 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, yogurt, 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 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.