LA FARGE, WIS. – Coinciding with its first milk pickups at small organic farms in Vermont, Maine, New York and New Hampshire, Organic Valley announced it added 51 new farms to its cooperative.
The effort to help farms in the region is part of Organic Valley’s yearlong campaign, which it initiated as a response to news in 2021 that more than 130 dairy farms in the Northeast were losing their contracts with other companies.
Founded in 1988 with a mission to keep organic family farms thriving, Organic Valley’s leadership has emphasized that it wants to reverse recent trends of consolidation in the industry by bringing in more farms to join its ranks. The Wisconsin-based cooperative shared USDA data that shows more than 100,000 family farms in the US were lost in the past decade.
"We care about small family farmers, rural communities and fixing the broken food system,” said Travis Forgues, Organic Valley’s executive vice president of membership. “And that is what we bring to the marketplace: organic dairy people can feel good about."
One of Organic Valley’s new members, Selina Rooney of Rooney Farm in Vermont, said it was a joy to see one of the cooperative’s milk trucks arrive at the farm.
“We work hard every day to care for this land and our animals, all organic, using no toxic pesticides or antibiotics," Rooney said. "Shipping milk with Organic Valley allows our farm to stay viable. It allows us to be the caretakers of this place and produce good organic food for people."