Organic Valley Increases Presence in the Southeast With New Southeast Farmer Coordinator

La Farge, WI
January 21, 2009
Contact P.R. Kristin Heinmets
work 612.372.6458 La Farge, WI

Organic Valley Milk is the First Locally Produced, Organic Milk in the Southeast

Organic Valley, a farmer-owned cooperative of more than 1,300 organic family farmers, announced today that it has increased its presence in the southeast by adding a new southeast region farmer coordinator to meet the growing demand for local, organic milk in the region. Organic Valley milk products are the first locally produced, organic milk available in the southeast.

North Carolina based Gerry Cohn will support the nine Organic Valley dairy and three feed member farmers and seek to recruit new members in the region. Cohn will also work to help ensure the availability of local, organic feed for the members.

"Because I have been an organic farmer for the past ten years, I can apply my experience and knowledge to help other farmers in the southeast," said Cohn.

A resident of Carrboro, N.C., Cohn brings with him more than 12 years of experience in farming and agriculture. Prior to joining Organic Valley, he served as the southeast states director at American Farmland Trust, where he worked with landowners, communities and policymakers on preserving productive farmland and helping communities plan for an agricultural future. He also served as the tobacco communities project field coordinator with the Rural Advancement Foundation International, where he helped farmers and local communities reduce their dependence on tobacco income through the creation of new farming alternatives.

Cohn has been an organic farmer in Snow Camp, N.C., for the past decade, raising heritage-breed pastured turkeys, dairy goats, blueberries and vegetables. Cohn has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of North Carolina, a master of arts from the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, and a master of science in agricultural and natural resource economics from the University of California at Davis.

Cohn currently serves as the chair of Alamance County Cooperative Extension Advisory Council and is a former founding board member of the Black Family Land Trust, North Carolina Farm Transition Network and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund Advisory Committee.

"We are excited to have pioneered the first organic dairy farms in the Southeast and look forward to increasing the number of organic dairies in the region." said George Siemon, chief executive officer of Organic Valley, "Gerry is a great asset to the co-op, and we're glad to have him on board to support and grow our Southeast program."

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 1,322 farmers in 34 states and one Canadian province, and achieved $432.5 million in 2007 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.com and the cooperative’s farmer website, www.farmers.coop.

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P.R. Contact
Kristin Heinmets
Phone: 612.372.6458
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