Organic Valley presented several dairy awards at the cooperative’s annual meeting, April 2, in La Crosse, Wis.

“Cream of the CROPP” Awards were given to the dairy farm with the best milk quality in each of Organic Valley’s six quality regions:

Northeast: Meyer Family, North Hardwick Dairy, Hardwick, Vt.

Mideast: David VanderZanden, Casnovia, Mich.

North Central: Nevin, Laura and Ammon Martin, Memphis, Mo.

Wisconsin: Kevin and Mary Jahnke, Jahnke Family Farm, Lancaster, Wis.

West: William and Laura McMahan, Cowlitz Meadows Dairy, Inc. #1, Randle, Wash

South: Amos Stoltzfus, Cadiz, Ky.

Sharon and Doug Sinko, Myrtle Point, Ore., received Organic Valley’s Ray Hass Organic Pioneer Award. The Sinkos stewarded 360 acres of land in the foothills of Oregon’s Coastal Mountains and tended to their herd of Jersey and Holstein cows.

The Sinkos have long been advocates for organic agriculture. Sharon was the secretary of the Western Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (WODPA), the editor of WODPA’s newsletter, and the organizer of its annual conference. Doug was Organic Valley’s western regional farmer-member coordinator for six years, during which he and Sharon traveled all over the western half of the United States to visit member farms and to recruit new farmers to the cooperative.

The Ray Hass Organic Pioneer Award is an annual memorial award given to an individual who is a pioneer in the organic movement and in the cooperative. The award is named after Ray Hass, a founding member of Organic Valley and one of the very first organic dairy farmers in the United States.

Melissa Collman, a fourth-generation dairy farmer from Clackamas County, Ore., received one of three Generation Organic™ (Gen-O) Awards. Melissa and her husband, Andy, work in partnership with Melissa’s father and mother, Organic Valley farmer-owners Gary and Connie Moore. Gen-O Award winners are awarded $1,000 to further their farm development or leadership. Visit



DMN: Organic butter in short supply

Organic butter supplies are reported to be tightening, according to the latest Dairy Market News. Manufacturers have recently told a number of longtime customers who buy bulk organic butter for manufacturing and baking that they cannot be supplied at this time. Butter manufactured in Wisconsin and Iowa has been mentioned as now in short supply. Some of that butter until recently was shipped to Atlanta by the pallet for baking, for example, and shipments have now stopped.

Longstanding Midwestern customers of bulk butter previously sourced from organic butter manufacturers in Wisconsin and Iowa have also been told that bulk organic butter will not be available for the foreseeable future. Some potential replacement organic butter manufacturers have been preliminarily located in the Mid-Atlantic Region, but quoted shipping costs on top of quoted pricing are giving pause.

The Dairy Market News Organic Dairy Retail Overview reported no ads for organic butter were found during this period’s retail survey. During 2014, organic butter ads have appeared in only three of the seven periods of the year. Last year, nearly nine times more organic butter ads had appeared so far at this point of the year, than during 2014. Retailers have reduced investments in advertising organic butter.

Many organic dairy producers in Wisconsin and Iowa are near the end of stored feed. Some report having saved the best quality feed through winter and are now replacing the poorer quality feed with better feed, which is helping production. Few have yet moved cows into pastures to begin to start counting days toward the minimum 120-day grazing requirement. Noticeable increases in milk production are expected soon when large numbers of organic cows can begin to pasture graze.

In the Northwest it is a mixed pasture situation. Relatively few Washington and Oregon organic producers are using pastures yet. Rain and wet conditions continue to slow increasing pasture use.

A number of organic producers from the Northwest have traveled to Wisconsin this week for the annual meeting of a national organic farmer cooperative. Many of them made the trip with the goal of personally advocating for an increased organic pay price in the Northwest, which is typically in the range of $4.00 below what organic producers in the Midwest and East receive.