Organic Valley Farmer-Owners Receive Outstanding Quality Awards

Organic Valley Farmer-Owners Receive Outstanding Quality Awards

512 Farmers Receive Recognition at the Independent, Farmer-Owned Cooperative's Annual Meeting.

Organic Valley, America's largest cooperative of organic farms and one of the nation's leading organic brands, recognized 512 of its farmer-owners with Outstanding Quality Awards at the cooperative's annual meeting held last week in La Crosse.

Organized in 1988, Organic Valley represents 1,617 farmers in 35 states and three Canadian provinces with the mission of saving family farms through organic agriculture. More than 450 of its farmer-owners descended upon southwest Wisconsin April 7-9 to attend the annual meeting to discuss the cooperative's current direction, issues and goals for the year ahead. 

Organic Valley dairy, produce, soy, egg, juice and feed crop farmers and Organic Prairie beef, poultry and pork farmers were recognized for quality achievements in 2010 during an awards banquet on Friday, April 8. Organic Valley honored its dairy farmers in Gold, Silver, Bronze and Milk Quality Recognition categories. To achieve these honors, Gold Award recipients needed an average Somatic Cell Count of less than 100,000; Silver Award recipients an average SCC between 101,000 and 150,000; Bronze Award recipients an average SCC between 151,000 and 200,000 and Milk Quality Recognition recipients an average SCC between 201,000 and 244,000. In addition, all levels had to achieve a Standard Plate Count average below 20 and a Preliminary Incubation Count averaging less than 30. All Gold, Silver and Bronze winners received a plaque and the Milk Quality Recognition winners received certificates for their accomplishments.

"We're proud to honor more than 30 percent of our farmer-members who have earned our quality awards, which reflects the pride our members have in producing the best quality organic products," said George Siemon, C-E-I-E-I-O for Organic Valley and one of its founding farmers. "These and other dedicated farmer-members further strengthen our cooperative, a theme present at this year's annual meeting as we celebrated past successes and made collective decisions for the future benefit of our farmer-members and the organic industry." The following farmers received the top milk quality Gold Award, the "Cream of the CROPP," in each region:

• Eastern Region: Meyer Family, North Hardwick Dairy LLC, Hardwick, Vt.

• Midwest Region: Kevin and Mary Jahnke, Jahnke Family Farm Limited Partnership, Lancaster, Wis.

• Western Region: McMahan Family, Cowlitz Meadows Dairy, Inc., Randle, Wash.

The following farmers received Organic Valley's Top Egg, Produce, Feed Crop, Juice and Soy Quality Awards:

Egg Pool

• Midwest Region Omega-3: Karl Wolf, Hillsboro, Wis.

• Midwest Region: Francis Blake, Waukon, Iowa

• East Region: John G. Stoltzfus, Willow Street, Penn.

• Kalona (Iowa) Pool: Alvin Beachy, Kalona, Iowa

Produce Pool: Reuben L. Miller, Cashton, Wis.

Feed Crop: Kevin Falk, Falk Farms, Tappen, N.D. 

Juice Pool: Roper Growers Cooperative, Fla.

Soy Pool: Quality Organic Producers Cooperative (QOPC), Iowa

The following farmers received Organic Prairie's Top Beef, Pork and Poultry Quality Awards: Beef Pool: Gary, Kim & Clayton Welsh, Clint & Kelly Welsh, Welsh Family Organic Farms, Lansing, Iowa

Pork Pool: Jim & Sheila Campbell & Family, JC & F Organics, Rewey, Wis. Poultry Pool: Gary, Kim & Clayton Welsh, Clint & Kelly Welsh, Welsh Family Organic Farms, Lansing, Iowa

The annual Gen-O Award program recognized the following individual young farmers who have demonstrated a strong commitment to organic farming, and preserving the family farm and rural communities through leadership, stewardship and innovation.

Central Region:  James Frantzen, New Hampton, Iowa

Western Region:  Ross Bansen, Monmouth, Ore.

Eastern Region:  Garin & Sarah Smith, Skowegan, Maine

Organic Valley also awarded the Ray Hass Organic Pioneer Award to Greg Welsh of Gays Mills, Wis. for his pioneering spirit and visionary work in the organic community. Welsh was Organic Valley's first employee, serving as the co-op's General Manager and remaining one of its most loyal members and consistent storytellers.

The Ray Hass Organic Pioneer Award is an annual memorial award given to an individual who is a pioneer in the organic movement and in the cooperative. The award is named after Ray Hass, a founding member of Organic Valley and one of the very first organic dairy farmers in the United States. Ray's vision of a farmer-owned organic cooperative and his tireless work advocating for family farmers were important and critical aspects to the success of the cooperative.

Farmers, by state, receiving Organic Valley's Gold Dairy Quality Awards for 2010: 

Idaho

Greg and Marci Bingham, Weston

Indiana

Samuel & Idasue Petersheim, Lagrange

John & Kathryn Schrock, Shipshewana

Maine

Paul and Michele Philbrick, Knox

Michigan

Samuel & Wilma Schmucker, Mio

New York

John & Erma Hoover, Penn Yan

Ammon & Clara Yoder, Fultonville

Ohio

Brookside Farm – Lloyd Gingerich, Belle Center

Leroy F. Meyer, Ft. Loramie

Michael & Mae Yoder, Apple Creek

Pennsylvania

James and Janet Byers, Mercersburg

Melvin & Katherine Stoltzfus, Spring Mills

Vermont

Alice and Laurance Allen, Wells River

Stephen and Amelia Bothfeld, Fieldstone Organic Farm, Cabot Dave and Elaine Callan, Mountain View Farm, Fairfield

Leon and Linda Corse, The Corse Farm Dairy, LLC, Whitingham Robert & Laurie Grenon, North Troy David & Mary Ellen Franklin, Guilford Mike and Teresa Menard, Fairfield

Meyer Family, North Hardwick Dairy, Hardwick

David & Tina Houde, St. Johnsbury

Rene J. Fournier & Sons Farm, Inc., Swanton

Andrew & Lisa Sherman, East Dover

Ben Moulton and Amanda Taylor, Knox Ridge Holsteins, Troy

Paul and Kristine Stecker, Cabot

Garry & Eileen Trudell, East Fairfield

Tyler & Melanie Webb, Enosburg Falls

Washington

Jim and Janie Austin, Austin Family Farms, LLC, Oakville

Peter & Dorene Dykstra, Everson

McMahan Family, Cowlitz Meadow Dairy, Randle

Andy and Linda Styger, Chehalis

Wisconsin

Richard & Jean Anhalt, New Holstein

Leonard DeFere, DeFere Family Dairy, Sturgeon Bay

Kevin and Mary Jahnke, Jahnke Family Farm, Lancaster

Mike and Julie Petherbridge, Petherbridge Family Farm, Dresser Robert & Lori Prahl, Luxemburg

Organic Valley: Independent and Farmer-Owned

Organic Valley is America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation's leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,617 farmers in 35 states and three Canadian provinces, and achieved $619 million in 2010 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, yogurt, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meat under the Organic Prairie label. For further information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop, www.organicprairie.coop and the cooperative's farmer website, www.farmers.coop. Organic Valley is also on Twitter @Organic_Valley and Facebook www.facebook.com/OrganicValley.

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