Organic Valley, the largest cooperative of organic farmers in the United States, reported an average milk pay price of $36.79 per hundredweight in 2015. The average is nearly $20 higher than the USDA-reported all-milk price average of $17.08 per hundredweight.
Organic Valley dairy farmers earned the highest organic premium over conventional dairy prices since the 2009 recession, cooperative leaders told more than 450 farmer-owners attending the organization’s 27th annual meeting on April 7, in LaCrosse, Wis.
The theme of this year’s annual meeting was “Purity of Purpose,” reflecting the co-op’s commitment to keeping farm families on the land through organic agriculture. In addition to the record-high milk price, other 2015 highlights included distribution of a bonus 13th check to farmers, instituting a drought relief program, and new dairy product launches.
17 Grassmilk farmers added in Northeast
Organic Valley also announced the addition of 17 northeast U.S. dairy farmers to increase production of its Organic Valley Grassmilk products.
The new Organic Valley Grassmilk milk farmers are connected with a new milk route winding from Canastota, New York to Gillet, Pennsylvania. It is then transported to Mountainside Farms in Roxbury, New York, where it is packaged. With the addition, the farmer-owned cooperative now has 81 Grassmilk milk farms.
Organic Valley’s Grassmilk milk is sourced from farmers feeding 100 percent fresh and dried forages, with no grain supplementation.
Organic Valley trademarked the Grassmilk term in 2011, and began producing Organic Valley Grassmilk milk in northern California’s Humboldt County in 2012. Production was expanded to Wisconsin in 2013, with distribution going national.
Organic Valley Grassmilk Yogurt was launched in 2015. According to the cooperative, the “grass-fed” yogurt category is experiencing 82 percent dollar growth, more than three times the growth of yogurt without the “grass-fed” claim.
Founded in 1988 by seven struggling farm families in southwest Wisconsin, the Organic Valley now has a membership of more than 1,800 farmers in 36 states. In December, Organic Valley topped the annual sales milestone of $1 billion for the first time. The sales growth represented a profit of $36.8 million, a seven percent increase over 2014.
Read more about Organic Valley. PD
- Progressive Dairyman
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