LA CROSSE, Wis. — At its annual meeting in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Organic Valley announced that 2018 sales were at an all-time high for the cooperative, surpassing $1.1 billion for the third consecutive year. With a 1% sales growth year-over-year, the cooperative opted to take a loss in 2018, making a strategic move to position itself for the future. Organic Valley continues to return a fair and sustainable pay price to its farmer members.
“We were born out of the farm crisis of the 1980s and witnessed first-hand the significant losses family farms endured,” said Arnie Trussoni, President of Organic Valley’s Board of Directors. “Today’s milk surplus brings about similar challenges to dairy farmers across the country but Organic Valley has found a model that works to keep small family farms on their land. We’ve built a stable business that can weather this storm, and are proud to keep our commitment to family farms.”
In a year when nearly 700 dairy farms went out of business in the state of Wisconsin alone, and market pressures continue to affect dairy farmers nationwide, Organic Valley brought on a remarkable 63 new members to the cooperative. Company leaders continue to emphasize that the cooperative is committed to maintaining its spirit of collaboration and using each other’s strengths to assure growth and success in 2019 and beyond.
“As we progress into 2019, Organic Valley is prepared to meet the continued challenges that we are experiencing in the marketplace,” said Bob Kirchoff, Organic Valley interim CEO. “We believe our investment in building greater brand equity and further ensuring our products are available when and where our consumers are looking will be key drivers to our future success.” Kirchoff became interim CEO after founding farmer and longtime CEO George Siemon stepped down in March of this year.
Highlights from the annual report show that in 2018, Organic Valley:
- Maintained competitive pay prices for farmer members. The cooperative’s national dairy pay price was $29.74 per hundredweight on average, delivering an organic premium of $13.97—approximately 88% higher than the average conventional price. The cooperative also held a stable pay price for its over 120 egg producers.
- Solidified the company as a leader and innovator in grass-fed dairy. Alongside organic dairy producer Maple Hill, Organic Valley laid the groundwork for a new third-party verified Certified Grass-fed Organic Dairy standard and seal. The cooperative also launched a number of new Grassmilk products, including kids yogurt cups and tubes, and Half and Half. Also added to the product lineup were cheese Snack Kits, caramel flavored Half and Half, and redesigned egg packaging with a new “free to forage” seal.
- Teamed up with other organic industry leaders in a lawsuit against the USDA to prevent the withdrawal of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) Final Rule. This rule ensures that hens have ample room indoors and outdoors, perches to roost on, and dirt and grass to scratch in. Organic Valley continues to push for higher animal care standards across the industry.
About Organic Valley
Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents nearly 2,000 farmers in 34 U.S. states and has over $1.1 billion in sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a wide range of organic dairy, eggs and produce. With its regional model, milk is produced, bottled and distributed right in the region where it is farmed to ensure fewer miles from farm to table and to support our local economies. For further information visit www.organicvalley.coop.