Organic Valley Announces First Signed Agreements And Payments With Organic Dairy Farmers

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Source: Organic Valley news release

Organic Valley, the largest cooperative of organic farmers in the nation, announced today that the first agreements and payments have been provided to initial organic farmers participating in Organic Valley’s Carbon Insetting Program (OVCIP).

Building off the University of Wisconsin-Madison published research in the Journal for Cleaner Production, which showed Organic Valley’s average on-farm milk emissions were some of the lowest in the nation, the cooperative is taking the next step to improve the carbon footprint of its milk.

“These are real funds for farmers taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.,” 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.”

As a recipient of the USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant, the co-op is offering additional support for practices implemented on eligible Organic Valley member-owner farms, including selecting and scoping region-specific projects, verification of those projects, and then helping to fund the practice installation.

Organic Valley’s carbon insetting program is category first in offering end-to-end support and a market price for per ton of third-party verified carbon reduction or removal by a participating farm. The co-op offers technical assistance to help farmers plan and design carbon-reducing projects, sources grant implementation funds and ensures monitoring and verification of those projects.

The initial projects occurring across regions, and the first set of farmer agreements include on-farm projects like:

· Trees planted in actively grazed pastures.

· Renewable energy installations at farmsteads.

· Upgraded manure management technology.

· Enteric-reducing feed supplements.

During the “Carbon Insetting is the New Offsetting” session at the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) Dairy Forum in Phoenix, Organic Valley Director of Sustainability Nicole Rakobitsch shared the actions the cooperative is taking to turn the concept into reality.

This level of direct involvement and openness is rare in the industry, making Organic Valley’s program a unique and traceable model for carbon insetting in agriculture. Read Organic Valley’s blog Rootstock to learn more about how organic farmers are implementing these practices.

“We promote a food production system that produces good food for people but maintains an environment that does not deplete natural resources,” said Organic Valley dairy farmer Chris Wilson from Wisconsin. “The goal is constantly trying to find ways to sequester carbon and make healthy soil. Healthy soil supports healthy cows, healthy cows make delicious and nutritious milk — all this goes hand in hand.”

About Organic Valley

Organic Valley is the leading organic farmer-owned cooperative on a mission to save, serve and safeguard small organic family farms. The brand’s products are ethically sourced, which we define as food raised on organic farms where families manage the daily care for the animals and the earth while living up to the requirements of the USDA National Organic Program as well as our cooperative’s own high standards and practices designed to promote the principles of organic agriculture, including respect for the dignity and interdependence of human, animal, plant, soil and global life. Founded in 1988, today the cooperative is owned by over 1,600 organic family farms. Visit ov.coop for more information.