Organic Valley was born of a group of farmers gathered in Southwestern Wisconsin in 1988, focused on keeping their families on the land. Thanks to their success, we are able to share our unique, regional, cooperative model with farming families across the country. Still, every spring, our farmer-members gather for their annual meeting at the cooperative offices in rural La Farge, Wisconsin.
Our large representation of farmer-members from the Appalachians to the Great Plains also shows the continued connection and influence of our home-grown, midwestern roots. Read about a few of the hundreds of Organic Valley farmers in the Upper Midwest and across the Heartland!
When Shana married dairy farmer Darin Berg in 1993, she had no interest in giving up her work off the farm. “It was the last thing I thought I’d ever do,” she says.
This eighty-acre Amish farm in Vernon County, Wisconsin, is swarmed by locals in mid-June, drawn by exquisite strawberries, hand-picked and displayed by family members.
Things are falling into place for these extraordinary first-generation dairy farmers. After moving the family from Newport Beach back home to Wisconsin, the Holm’s dreams have come true.
“Organic farmers are more than willing to share their knowledge,” Sheila says. “They’re not afraid to share what they know. We help each other.”
Lots of folks are "converted" after spending a day on Sue and Altfrid Krusenbaum's family farm, where the best elements from their worldly backgrounds creates their own self-styled agri-culture.
Ernest Martin is impressed by the effect organic pasturing has had on the health of his cows. “If we feed the cows a healthy diet that's as close to what nature intended as possible, they rarely get sick.”
The Martins were not always organic farmers, but since 1993, they’ve become believers. “Our boys definitely dream of having their own dairy farms. That makes me happy.”
Based on principles of permaculture and agroforestry, Mark and Jen Shepard saw an opportunity to create a farm, literally, from the ground up, with Mother Nature as chief architect of the landscape.
Dana and Carol Shirk didn't start out organic, but now they say they'd never go back. “There’s something about watching those cows go out and tear into a fresh paddock of grass that really pleases me. I honestly think that’s why the herd health is so good now, because they’re outside eating what they’re meant to eat.”
The Stollers have received several conservation awards in recognition of their thriving 350-acre organic dairy farm. “It shows that ‘organic’ and ‘conservation’ go hand-in-hand,” says Scott Stoller.
Jim Wedeberg’s sons, John and Jake, are the 5th generation of Wedebergs farming the land Jim’s great grandparents immigrated to in the mid- and late 1800’s.
In 1998, the Winnes family moved seven kids from Minneapolis to an abandoned farm in southeast Minnesota's Driftless region, where they now graze 40 cows on lush organic pastures.