Organic Valley 2023 Impact Report: Sustainable Food System & Small Family Farms
Farmer-Owned Cooperative’s Carbon Insetting Program Named as a Finalist in the General Excellence Category of Fast Company’s 2023 World Changing Ideas Awards
Fast Company announced its 2023 World Changing Ideas Awards today and out of 2,200 entries, Organic Valley’s innovative carbon insetting program earned recognition as a finalist and received two honorable mentions. An in-depth look at the awarded carbon insetting program, along with the cooperative’s other innovative programs, are detailed in Organic Valley’s 2023 Impact Report, also released in May.
The 2023 Impact Report unveils Organic Valley’s trailblazing initiatives to minimize its carbon footprint and champion small organic family farms to help support a better, more equitable food system.
The pioneering CROPP Carbon Insetting Program (CCIP) takes center stage, offering a groundbreaking approach to carbon insetting by rewarding Organic Valley farmers for implementing regenerative, climate-smart farming practices, such as tree planting and composting strategies. This revolutionary program empowers Organic Valley to work toward carbon neutrality without relying on carbon offsetting while financially supporting family farms’ environmental stewardship.
Organic Valley ambitiously aims to collaborate with roughly 500 farmer-members over the next five years, implementing more than 1,200 climate-smart farming practices.
Organic Valley also features animal care practices in the report including implementing pasture and outdoor access standards, preventative care, and treatment. By focusing on measurable animal welfare outcomes, Organic Valley transcends traditional methods, employing cutting-edge trigger measures to reward farmers excelling in animal care and addressing issues proactively.
In 2022 alone, the cooperative engaged with over 4,000 farms and conducted more than 2,500 farm visits. Organic Valley’s family farms boast an average of 80 dairy cows, a staggering 3.5 times smaller than the industry average, prioritizing Annual Animal Care Check-ins and comprehensive audits every three years.
The report also unveils astonishing statistics: since 1988, Organic Valley farmers have prevented over 540 million pounds of chemicals — the equivalent weight of 360,000 adult blue whales — from polluting land, waterways, and food. Moreover, the cooperative has generously donated more than 19 million pounds of food in the past seven years and partnered with numerous organizations and nonprofits to bolster local communities across the nation.
“While I am new to Organic Valley, having started as CEO in January of 2023, I am excited about what the future will bring. The story of this farmer-owned cooperative is expanding to include the real impact of the farms of Organic Valley – from the way they care deeply for the earth and animals all the way to the future of carbon and climate action,” said Jeff Frank, Organic Valley CEO.
Organic Valley’s 2023 Impact Report stands as a powerful testament to the cooperative’s unwavering devotion to sustainable agriculture and organic farming practices. The Report focuses on three areas:
Care for People – While providing high quality organic food to the world is what we do, our impact on people’s wellbeing stretches far beyond the grocery aisles. Just this year, Organic Valley brought on 84 additional small organic family farms, making it possible for those families to keep farming for generations to come. We have also continued to show our dedication to the health of our employees both on and off the job.
Care for Animals – Over the years, we’ve become known for our outstanding animal care. This year, we’re happy to report that our average dairy herd size is 3.5 times smaller than the national average, with our dairy cows spending more time outside than 95% of the dairy cows in the U.S. Also, our farmers continue to forge ahead of the industry, coming up with new and innovative ways to provide excellent animal care.
Care for the Earth – Our dedication to farming in harmony with nature and combating the climate crisis is stronger than ever. Our dairy farms produce 24% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional farms, making Organic Valley America’s Low Carbon Dairy. They’ve also kept more than 540 million pounds of pesticides off the land since 1988—enough to cover Alaska and California combined.