In an unprecedented effort to provide market stability to both crop growers and livestock producers, Organic Valley Family of Farms is opening its membership to organic crop growers with the introduction of its Grower Pool.
With more than 1,200 member farms, Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation’s leading organic brands.
Growers joining the pool will benefit from a guaranteed floor price for their crops on a long-term contract basis and will be able to enroll all or portions of their crop acreage in the pool. Organic Valley will offer contracts for feed-grade grains, beans, oilseeds and hay beginning with the 2008-2010 cycle.
Prices will reflect differences in the co-op’s 15 grower regions. Members will form their own executive committee to develop policy and pricing guidelines. After one production year, any member can add a year to the contract at a newly set floor price, or can opt out of the pool.
“Our objective is to establish regional floor prices for crops that are clearly profitable for growers yet still affordable for our livestock producers,” said Lowell Rheinheimer, farm resources manager for Organic Valley. “Growers also will have the benefit of becoming true partners in the production of organic food with other farmers who believe in environmentally-responsible farming – rather than selling their feed crops into an anonymous and turbulent marketplace. A substantial number of farmers are already seeking to join the pool.”
“The hallmark of Organic Valley for its 20 years has been the price stability it offers its member farmers,” said George Siemon, chief executive officer of Organic Valley. “Our Grower Pool carries that tradition. It’s a good opportunity to bring two groups of farmers together to negotiate in cooperation and to ultimately provide stability to both.”
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