LA FARGE, WIS. – Organic Valley announced it is adding a number of Pennsylvania dairy farms to its cooperative.
The small family farms located in rural Pennsylvania recently were left without a market for their products when a previous partnership was severed.
"Our mission is imperative, especially after seeing these family farms lose their market with little to no notice,” said Travis Forgues, Organic Valley executive vice president of membership. “What we have seen across the country is that when small family farms go out of business, they don't come back. At the rate these farms are currently disappearing, there won't be any small family farms left in America. However, if all of us do our part we can keep these small family farms viable."
Close to a dozen farms had to find a temporary solution to keep shipping their milk before Organic Valley offered them membership in its cooperative.
Organic Valley cited USDA research that found small family farms often are told to find another market or consolidate into big agriculture.
"We couldn't believe it when we received our notice giving us five days to find another place to ship our milk," said John Painter of Painterland Farms LLC, Westfield, Pa. "But Organic Valley stepped in and is allowing us to continue to do what we love. It's a weight off our shoulders, that's for sure. Everyone on the Organic Valley staff that we dealt with was very attentive, responsive and helpful. With their help and quickly picking up the procedural pace we turned a bad situation into a new opportunity."
In 2022, Organic Valley now has added into its cooperative more than 60 new farms that were dropped by other dairy companies. Established in 1988, the organic farming cooperative represents close to 1,800 farmers in the US, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.