LA FARGE, WIS. – Organic Valley revealed the inaugural organic farmers participating in the cooperative’s carbon insetting program received their first agreements and payments.

With the help of a US Department of Agriculture Climate-Smart Commodities grant, eligible Organic Valley member-owner farms can access additional support for sustainability efforts.

"These are real funds for farmers taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the US," Organic Valley CEO Jeff Frank said. "As a cooperative business, we are committed to these organic farmers with long-term agreements and relationships, and the farmers are committed to us with verified carbon reductions and, of course, organic milk. We're building this business to deliver for farmers who deserve to be rewarded for their efforts and customers who want real choices for climate-friendly dairy."

Per the cooperative, its insetting program offers end-to-end support and a market price with third-party verified carbon reduction or removal. Organic Valley said it also gives its farmer-owners the ability to access technical assistance for planning projects, as well as the monitoring and verification of projects.

Organic Valley shared that the initial projects include:

• Trees planted in actively grazed pastures.

• Renewable energy installations at farmsteads.

• Upgraded manure management technology.

• Enteric-reducing feed supplements.

Nicole Rakobitsch, Organic Valley’s director of sustainability, highlighted the cooperative’s actions during the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) Dairy Forum in Phoenix.

Chris Wilson, an Organic Valley dairy farmer from Wisconsin, said such practices maintain an environment that doesn’t deplete natural resources.

"The goal is constantly trying to find ways to sequester carbon and make healthy soil,” Wilson said. “Healthy soil supports healthy cows, healthy cows make delicious and nutritious milk — all this goes hand in hand."