LA FARGE, Wis. — Oregon organic dairy farmer and Organic Valley board member Steve Pierson testified in front of Congress about the state of organic agriculture during the Reviewing the State of Organic Agriculture—Producer Perspectives hearing.
Organic Valley, America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers, is urging the USDA to finalize the origin of livestock language to enforce consistent interpretation of this organic standard. Pierson will share a dairy producer’s perspective about how uneven enforcement of organic livestock transitioning practices affects his farm and thousands of small, family-owned organic dairy farms across the nation.
Most farms, like the nearly 2,000 farms who are members and owners of the Organic Valley cooperative, only transition a dairy herd from conventional to organic once, over a single 12-month period. After that, these farmers source only organic-born and organic animals they raise themselves. However, some certifiers and dairy operations exploit the one-time 12-month allowance, using it multiple times to continuously transition groups of animals (viewed as new “herds”) from conventional to organic. For a family farm the size of Pierson’s, that creates a competitive disadvantage of upwards of $45,000 per year.
Organic Valley supports both private-led and agency-initiated efforts to protect organic integrity through organic supply chains. Pierson will also speak to Congress about how organic integrity must be preserved and strengthened for the benefit of animals, the environment and climate.
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, produce and meats. For further information visit www.organicvalley.coop. Organic Valley is also on Twitter (@OrganicValley) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/OrganicValley).