|Organic Valley CEO George Siemon with USDA deputy secretary Kathleen Merrigan|
Organic Valley reported 2011 sales increased 15.3% to $715 million, a record. At its annual meeting in La Crosse, Wis., last week, the La Farge, Wis.-based farmer-owned cooperative said in 2011 212 new farmers joined the co-op, it increased farmer pay price and donated more than $2.2 million to nonprofit organizations dedicated to advancing organic food and farming. More than 600 Organic Valley farmer-owners attended the meeting.
In her keynote speech, Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, told the audience, “USDA is committed to helping organic agriculture grow and thrive by strengthening USDA's National Organic Program and better integrating support for organic producers across the Department. We also continue to support cooperatives, a business model that's been very successful for organic and other producers. Both of these initiatives are examples of how USDA helps create additional economic opportunities for our nation's farmers and ranchers."
Walt Freese, Stonyfield President and CE-Yo, and Robyn Schrader, National Cooperative Grocers Association CEO, also addressed attendees, underscoring the importance of partnership, and the cooperative business model.
Additional highlights discussed at the annual meeting included the following:
• Recent completion of Organic Valley’s new headquarters expansion, a symbol of the co-op's steady growth and success, as well as its commitment to the vitality of rural communities
• Construction progress on the Cashton Greens Wind Farm, Wisconsin’s first community wind project
• Launch of Organic Valley American Cheese Singles—unprocessed, 100 percent real organic cheese slices, as opposed to “processed cheese food”
• Organic Valley Grassmilk™, an organic specialty milk produced from cows that are 100 percent grass-fed
Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,687 farmers in 35 states and three Canadian provinces, and achieved $715 million in 2011 sales.
SOURCE: Organic Valley
- Website: www.organicvalley.coop
- Twitter: @OrganicValley
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/OrganicValley.