Organic Valley Annual Meeting Recap
Last month, three Oregon Tilth team members had the opportunity to visit and participate in Organic Valley’s Annual Meeting in La Crosse, WI. It was an inspiring time connecting with Organic Valley’s farmer-owners, employees, and other members of the community. Here are some highlights below.
We arrived to La Crosse to find the Annual Meeting in full swing. The banquet hall was bubbling with farmers and their families, Organic Valley employees – and of course someone dressed in a cow onesie. We dove right in and started connecting in person!
The Annual Business Meeting, Board Elections, and breakout sessions lasted most of the day. A lot was covered here, but some highlights were:
- An emphasis on ‘responsible growth’. Organic Valley is at the point once again where they are able to grow as an organization, and they want to approach this in a responsible and sustainable way. They are now bringing on new farmer-owners, especially in the Northeast (see this article or radio segment, on how Organic Valley was able to pick up new farmers in need of a market for their milk).
- ‘Saving the small family farm’. This is at the core of Organic Valley’s mission, and applies to many aspects of their business – from the small farms that are able to stay in business thanks to membership in the cooperative, to the new farms that Organic Valley is starting to work with across the country.
- Excitement around the Origin of Livestock ruling (which we too were happy to see!)
- Organic Valley is piloting a program to be carbon neutral by 2050, via a carbon insetting program.
Our team also had the unique chance to tour two of Organic Valley’s facilities – Cashton Creamery and their CALF processing plant. This was the perfect way to round out the trip, and was very impactful for us to see first-hand the linkages between farmers, processing, and the final product that reaches consumers on the grocery store shelves.
Overall, we are thrilled to work with an organization that aligns with our mission on so many levels. Thank you to Organic Valley for inviting us out, and thank you to all of their farmer-owners for the good work you all do every day.