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Organic Valley Meets 30th Year Anniversary With $1.1 Billion in Annual Sales

Organic Valley Meets 30th Year Anniversary With $1.1 Billion in Annual Sales


LA FARGE, WI
Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Much like pearls cultivated after a grain of sand spends time inside an oyster, Organic Valley is celebrating the beautiful result of 30 years in business, a pearl anniversary that the cooperative celebrates with pride.

After three decades of hard work, the cooperative now celebrates $1.1 billion in annual sales, while going toe-to-toe with new challenges like innovation, farmers, and animal welfare. The cooperative’s business grew by over 4 percent in 2017, but an after-tax loss totaled $10 million, the first financial loss the cooperative has seen in 20 years.

George Siemon, Co-Founder, Organic Valley“Organic Valley has flourished over the past three decades and exceeded our founders’ expectations in nearly every way,” said George Siemon, CEO. “Bumps in the journey, market fluctuations—they are inevitable. But our priorities are, and always have been, our farmer-members, our employees, our animals, and our consumers. We’re confident that as we continue to work together as a cooperative, we are a force for good in a troubled time.”

Again, just like irritating grains of sand that result in lustrous pearls, the cooperative reported in a press release that, even though it faced an after-tax loss, farmers are coming together to serve the common purpose and create better results moving forward—that is the beauty of our industry. This mirrors what the cooperative went through during the 1980s farming crisis, when farmers facing almost immanent bankruptcy decided that was not to be. Instead, the resilient farmers banned together to form a farmer-owned cooperative that keeps family farms thriving and brings healthy foods that taste great to dinner tables across the U.S. The result of this perseverance, you ask? A billion-dollar business strategy that proves doing things differently means making things work when the going gets tough.

The company reported that budgets tightened across the co-op during 2017, when farmers saw that the national average dairy pay price, $32.85 per 100 pounds, was almost double that of conventional marketplaces, regardless of the reduced amount paid for the co-op’s milk.

Organic Valley CEO George Siemon addressing an audience

In addition to updates to the McMinnville, Oregon, creamery and introduction of a new cheese-cutting and ghee-production facility in Cashton, Wisconsin, during 2017, the co-op outlined the following completed measures to hunker down and push through, according to a press release:

  • Extended its 100 percent grass-fed dairy and meat lines to meet consumer demand
  • Announced an aggressive plan to become the largest food company in the world to be 100 percent renewably powered by 2019
  • Grew sustainably to 2,043 farms—14.4 percent of all U.S. certified organic farms—on more than 493,000 organic acres, and the co-op provides meaningful employment for 932 people
  • Continued its commitment of sharing the good with $5.2 million in mission-aligned donations and sponsorships to more than 700 organizations, as well as disaster relief efforts
  • Innovated with new product offerings including Black Cherry Grassmilk Yogurt, Organic Fuel Whey Protein Powder, Mighty Organic 100 percent grass-fed beef snack sticks, and Sweet Cream Half & Half
  • Continued its role as a pioneer and leader in food and farming excellence by taking a stand nationally in support of stronger organic animal welfare standards; the co-op published important public statements in newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post
  • Continued support of disaster relief efforts, sending product and cash to support relief efforts in Houston after Hurricane Harvey, to Immokalee, Florida, after Hurricane Irma, to the areas affected by California fires, and to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

“We’ll continue to pull together and ask everyone to do their part,” said Arnie Trussoni, President of the Cooperative’s Board of Directors. “We turned the numbers right side up in November and December, and plans are on the table to maximize organic milk utilization. We are a family, and we don’t leave one another behind. That’s what our cooperative is all about.”

The cooperative, however, is looking forward to furthering its development after celebrating its pearl anniversary and billion-dollar sales and weathering its changes that can be seen throughout the co-op’s structure.

Congratulations on the first 30; we at Deli Market News look forward to seeing you thrive in the next 30 and beyond!

Organic Valley