Organic Valley (OV) is an organic food brand and independent cooperative of organic farmers based in La Farge, Wisconsin, United States. Founded in 1988 and it is the largest farmer owned organic collective in North America.[4]

Organic Valley
Company typeAgricultural cooperative
IndustryOrganic food
Founded1988; 36 years ago (1988)
Area served
United States, 25 countries
Key people
Jeff Frank, CEO[1]
ProductsMilk, butter, cheese, cream, eggs, ham, brussels sprouts, meat
RevenueDecrease $1.146 billion (2019)[2]
Decrease $28.724 million (2019)[2]
Total assetsDecrease $356.726 million (2019)[2]
MembersDecrease 1,800 farmer-owners
Number of employees
DivisionsOrganic Prairie
Organic Valley Fresh
Organic Logistics
Organic Valley section at Festival Foods

Organic Valley markets milk and various dairy products as well as organic beef, pork, chicken, and turkey products under the Organic Valley or Organic Prairies brand.[4] With 1,800 farmer-owners across the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom,[5] Organic Valley markets its products in all 50 states and exports to 25 countries.

Cooperative history edit

Organic Valley was founded in 1988 under the name 'CROPP (Coulee Region Organic Produce Pool) Cooperative.[6] What began as a group of Wisconsin family farms selling their produce soon expanded into the production and local distribution of vegetables, and dairy products. The brand name "Organic Valley" was soon adopted, and the abbreviation "CROPP" was adjusted to Cooperative Regions of Organic Producer Pools. The original CROPP farms were located throughout southwest Wisconsin, primarily in the Kickapoo River Basin area near the cooperative's headquarters which was built in 2004.

Organic Valley comprises nearly 2,000 farmer-owners located in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom that specialize in sustainable, organic agriculture practices. Organic Valley has become the world's largest independent Cooperative of organic family farmers and one of the nation's largest producers and distributors of organic produce, dairy, soy, and eggs.[7] It also markets its line of beef, pork, turkey, and chicken products under the Organic Prairie brand.[8]

Products are marketed in all 50 states, Canada, China, Japan, and 22 other countries.[9]

In March 2016, construction was completed on a second 200,000 square foot office building on the Cashton campus in order to accommodate continued growth of the organization.[10] The building is large enough to accommodate roughly half of the cooperative's total employees.[11]

Organic Valley purchased Farmers Cooperative Creamery in McMinnville, Oregon 2016. It merges 72 co-op members in Oregon and Washington.[12] It opened in August 2017 and received $350,000 in funds from the State.[13] In 2021, a major fire at the McMinnville Creamery resulted in evacuation order for residents in a 1/2 mile radius due to presence of ammonia at the plant.[14] The fire destroyed the main building, but the plant was rebuilt and resumed operation in May 2022.[15]

In March 2017, Organic Valley announced the creation of Organic Valley Fresh, a 50:50 joint venture with Dean Foods to expand the brand's presence by leveraging Dean Foods' extensive distribution network.[16] Later that year, the organization opened a new 23,000 square foot CALF (Conversion & Labeling Facility) building on the Cashton campus to accommodate growth of producing, cutting, packing, and labeling products.[17]

In 2019, total annual sales for Organic Valley reached an estimated $1.1 billion.[2] However, milk supply and demand issues along with shifting consumer taste resulted in year-over-year profitability losses for the organization nearing $30 million in the latest 2019 earnings.[18] Restructuring also led to a mixture of nearly 100 layoffs and retirements including the departure of 14 farmer-members.[3]

Environmental violation edit

The McMinnville creamery was fined $26,574 in 2019 by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for illegally dumping milk into the storm drain causing a creek to turn white for 3/4 of a mile. The same plant was fined $12,600 and received eight citations for similar violations in 2018.[19]

Management edit

George Siemon, one of the founding farmers of CROPP, was the CEO of Organic Valley for more than 30 years.[20] Once a member of the National Organic Standards Board,[21] Siemon helped set the standards not only for Organic Valley, but is best known for his leadership in organizing farmers and building market support for organic agriculture across the country.

In March 2019, Siemon stepped down as CEO and the board of directors selected Robert Kirchoff, former chief business officer, as interim CEO.[22]

On January 12, 2023, Organic Valley announced Jeff Frank as its new CEO.[1]

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Organic Valley Welcomes Jeff Frank As New Chief Executive Officer". Retrieved 2023-10-21.
  2. ^ a b c d "CROPP Cooperative (Organic Valley) Annual Report 2018". Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b Tribune, Jennifer Lu La Crosse. "Organic Valley lays off 39 employees". La Crosse Tribune. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  4. ^ a b Milligan, Terri. "A 'cleaner, brighter' Wisconsin brat is yours if you buy organic". Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2024-03-07.
  5. ^ Tighe, Mike (2014-04-04). "Organic Valley nears $1 billion in sales". Wisconsin State journal. Retrieved 2014-04-16.
  6. ^ "Organic Valley – The Truest Meaning of Organic". United Natural Foods, Inc. June 2004. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
  7. ^ "Organic Valley - History". Retrieved 2014-04-16.
  8. ^ "Why Organic Prairie". Retrieved 2014-04-16.
  9. ^ "Organic Valley posts record sales, 193 percent profit leap". 2015-04-10. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
  10. ^ "Organic Valley celebrates surge to billion-dollar year, with even greener pastures on horizon". LaCrosseTribune. 2016-04-08. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  11. ^ Cahalan, Steve. "Grand opening this week for Organic Valley's new Cashton office building". La Crosse Tribune. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Organic Valley will buy the Farmers Creamery Cooperative facility in Oregon". Capital Press. September 7, 2016. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  13. ^ Loew, Tracy. "Organic Valley McMinnville Creamery faces hefty fine for repeatedly dumping milk". Statesman Journal. Retrieved 2024-03-07.
  14. ^ "3-alarm fire at Organic Valley Creamery prompts evacuations". Retrieved 2021-04-21.
  15. ^ Plaven, George (2023-05-12). "Organic Valley's rebuilt creamery back in operation". Capital Press. Archived from the original on March 7, 2024. Retrieved 2024-03-07.
  16. ^ "Organic Valley and Dean Foods Joint Venture "Open for Business"". 31 March 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  17. ^ Robson, Dorothy. "Organic Valley's CALF building allows space to multitask". La Crosse Tribune. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  18. ^ "Organic Valley exceeds $1.1 billion in sales for fourth consecutive year". La Crosse Tribune. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  19. ^ The Associated press (2019-12-30). "Oregon fines Organic Valley $26K for dumping milk into river". oregonlive. Retrieved 2024-03-07.
  20. ^ "Community Outreach | Organic Valley".
  21. ^ Martin, Andrew (2007-08-19). "How to Add Oomph to 'Organic' (Published 2007)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2024-03-07.
  22. ^ Brazil, Deb (15 March 2019). "Organic Valley CEO steps down". WKBT. Retrieved 23 March 2019.