Organic Valley to Hold Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for New $5.9 Million Green Design Headquarters; Building Symbolizes Cooperative's Commitment to Organic Family Farmers, Rural America

Jul 20, 2004, 01:00 ET from Organic Valley

    LAFARGE, Wis., July 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Organic Valley will celebrate the
 nation's organic family farmer and rural America during a ribbon-cutting
 ceremony on Sat., July 31 to mark the completion of its new $5.9 million green
 design headquarters.  Organic Valley, located in the Village of LaFarge, Wis.
 (pop. 780), is proudly America's leading organic-farmer cooperative.
     The ceremony will begin at noon at the site of Organic Valley's new
 headquarters, One Organic Way.  Building tours, which will highlight the
 facility's environmental-friendly features, will be offered every 30 minutes
 from 12:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.  Ribbon-cutting activities are being held in
 conjunction with the first-ever Kickapoo Country Fair, an all-day event hosted
 by Organic Valley and the Kickapoo Valley Reserve to celebrate sustainability
 and community.  For more information on the fair, visit .
     "Organic Valley's new home, with its barn motif, symbolizes our deep-
 rooted commitment to supporting organic family farming and the vitality of
 rural America," said George Siemon, Organic Valley's chief executive officer
 and founding farmer.  "We've made a conscious decision to stay in rural
 Wisconsin for the long haul, and it sends a clear message about Organic
 Valley.  We're passionately committed to helping revive rural communities and
 saving family farms through organic, sustainable agriculture."
     The 49,210 square-foot building features state-of-the-art energy
 efficiencies including an energy recovery system that swaps cool and warm air
 within the building; day lighting that uses natural light to reduce the need
 for electric lighting; and solar-powered parking lot lights.
     Various recycled materials, sourced from local businesses, are
 incorporated into the structure.  The building's frame incorporates recycled
 steel, and fly ash, a byproduct of aluminum casting, is used for the drywall.
 Insulation is made with recycled cloth, similar to the material used for blue
     Organic Valley's new headquarters is expected to bring increased economic
 strength to rural Wisconsin, which has been hard-hit in recent years by the
 loss of family farms.  The cooperative now is actively recruiting new
 employees to LaFarge and expects to have 180 employees in the new building by
 September 2004, when staff is scheduled to move into the facility.  The
 building will accommodate up to 250 workers.  In their new home, Organic
 Valley employees will have a locker room with showers; a mile-long nature path
 circling the 36-acre property; and an alternative transportation system --
 green bikes.  The new cafeteria will serve all organic foods.
     Overlooking the rolling hills of Kickapoo Valley, the new building is
 nestled against the Kickapoo Valley Reserve -- 8,600 acres that are home to
 diverse wildlife and a popular spot for outdoor recreation.
     "We've collaborated closely with our farmer-members, employees, the
 Village of LaFarge and the state of Wisconsin in building our new
 headquarters," said Cecil Wright, director of local operations for Organic
 Valley.  "Our goal was to create a place that truly reflects the spirit and
 mission of Organic Valley.  I'm proud to say we've successfully done that."
     LaFarge created a Tax Increment Financing district through which it
 provided $1.5 million for the new headquarters' infrastructure, including a
 $750,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.  The USDA
 facilitated Organic Valley's $2.8 million "Business & Industry Loan."  Organic
 Valley also received a pass-through loan from Vernon Telephone cooperative,
 which Vernon Telephone received from USDA Rural Development.
     "The Village of LaFarge is eternally grateful to the farmers of Organic
 Valley for their long-term investment in our community," said Steve Donovan,
 president of the Village of LaFarge.  "The cooperative is a powerful role
 model for other businesses, demonstrating how an investment in rural America
 is an investment in our whole nation's health, economy, communities, schools,
 families and the environment."
     Organic Valley: Farming for Future Generations
     Organized 15 years ago, the Organic Valley cooperative today is made up of
 633 organic farmers in 16 states.  It's the only national organic brand that
 is 100-percent farmer-owned and proudly the only independent national organic
 dairy in the United States.  For further information, visit .
     DIRECTIONS: Drive to the Village of LaFarge, Wis. at the junction of State
 Highways 131 and 82, and then follow the Organic Valley signs to the site of
 the new building located at One Organic Way, LaFarge, Wis.

SOURCE Organic Valley