Aurora Organic Dairy Triples Organic Pasture in Texas
Dairy's Pasture Expansion Program Provides Organic-conversion Incentive for
BOULDER, Colo., Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Aurora Organic Dairy (AOD), the nation's leading producer of private-label and store-brand organic milk and butter, is tripling its certified-organic pastureland at its Dublin, Texas, organic dairy farm. As a result, certified-organic pasture for the 3,300 organic milk cows at AOD's farm in the Lone Star State will jump from 800 to 2,800 acres. This increase helps to fulfill AOD's long-term pasture expansion for the Texas dairy, a plan initiated in the spring of 2004. Juan Velez, M.V., M.S., D.A.C.T., large-animal veterinarian and vice president of farm operations for AOD, explained that the organic dairy's Texas farm has teamed up with two neighboring family farmers who converted pasture and cropland to certified organic production. "Our company strongly supports requiring pasture for organic dairy cows. Along with our animal welfare program, converting conventional farmland to organic production here in the United States continues to be one of our company's principal goals," he said. The Texas ag. and organic communities responded favorably to the news of the organic conversion of the two farms' acreage. "Aurora Organic Dairy's pasture expansion program is a very significant conversion of pasturelands for organic dairy production in Texas," said Barry Lambert, Ph.D., assistant department head, Department of Animal Sciences, at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. "Organic farming represents a promising future for some Texas farmers and dairy producers," Dr. Lambert added. "The expansion of organic pasture at Aurora Organic Dairy is an excellent step in the development of organic dairy here in Texas." Organic Farmer Relationships Vital to Organic Industry Joe Smillie, member of the National Organic Standards Board and senior vice president, Quality Assurance International, a leading organic certifier, concurred that AOD's Texas organic pasture expansion is beneficial for the neighboring family farmers and for the organic dairy industry, in general. "This conversion from conventional to organic production helps to fulfill the basic purpose of organic agriculture -- to give farmers a choice that eliminates the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and chemicals," Mr. Smillie emphasized. "And, organic farming offers a practical and financially sustainable way for farmers to remain on the land and to stay in business for the benefit of current and future generations." Animal Welfare is Key at AOD Dr. Velez explained that animal welfare is a cornerstone of the AOD organic program. In June 2006, after a lengthy audit and assessment, AOD's Colorado dairy farm received Animal Welfare Review certification from Validus Services, Urbandale, Iowa, an independent, third-party, animal-welfare certification agency. Aurora Organic Dairy is the first and only organic dairy in the nation to receive this animal welfare certification, which is a distinct certification process conducted separately from organic certification. This certification program was developed under the review of Temple Grandin, Ph.D, one of America's leading experts in animal behavior and welfare. Meanwhile, AOD's Texas dairy farm also is currently undergoing assessment procedures to qualify for the Animal Welfare Review certification. According to Dr. Velez, a combination of criteria contributes to excellent animal care. Pasture is one of several important measures necessary in any comprehensive animal-welfare program. He explained that pasture grasses, as well as a carefully balanced mix of additional forages, provide an optimal mixed-feed ration and the major portion of the organic cows' varied diet. A Network of Family Farmers Dr. Velez also said that the AOD organic farm network has developed beneficial supplier relationships with more than 120 family farmers whose production comprises more than 50,000 total acres of organic agriculture. And, AOD actively is recruiting more farmers and assisting them with the transition to sustainable organic production. Dr. Velez and his farm managers work to form strong relationships with other farmers in Texas and in other regions to benefit both large and small organic operations. About Aurora Organic Dairy Aurora Organic Dairy is America's leading producer of private-label and store-brand organic milk and butter. The organic production company includes headquarters offices in Boulder, Colo., and. an organic dairy farm and on-farm organic dairy processing plant near Platteville, Colo. In July 2005, a second organic dairy farm near Dublin, Texas, completed its year-long transition to certified organic production. The company recently developed a third, state-of-the-art organic dairy farm -- High Plains Organic Dairy -- near Kersey, Colo., which began organic milk production in September 2006. For more information, visit www.auroraorganic.com. Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Clark F. Driftmier http://www.profnet.com/ud_public.jsp?userid=10011103 Juan S. Velez, M.V. (Medico Veterinario) http://www.profnet.com/ud_public.jsp?userid=10020765
SOURCE Aurora Organic Dairy
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