LA FARGE, Wis., April 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Organic Valley, America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation's leading organic brands, today convened its 27th Annual Meeting, drawing more than 450 farmer-owners from 26 states to La Crosse, Wisconsin. The theme of this year's annual meeting is "Purity of Purpose" and the farmer-owned co-op's unwavering commitment to keeping farm families on the land through organic agriculture.
Mission-driven results for 2015 include a record high pay price to farmers for their organic milk, distribution of a bonus 13th check to farmers, instituting a drought relief program, and successful new product launches that utilize milk supply and make organic more accessible to more families.
In December, Organic Valley reached a remarkable milestone: record sales of $1.04 billion. Founded in 1988 by seven struggling farm families in Southwest Wisconsin, the farmer-owned co-op today now has a membership of more than 1,800 farmers in 36 states. It is the first billion-dollar, organic-only food company.
"As we move into 2016, Organic Valley is stronger than ever; $1.04 billion in annual sales is phenomenal, and we should celebrate our part in the growth of organic agriculture," said Organic Valley Board president Arnie Trussoni. "Nevertheless, it's been a long, difficult journey to get here and we face further challenges ahead. We must continue to hold tight to our original mission of keeping family farmers on their land," continued Trussoni.
Sales of organic products in the United States jumped to $35.1 billion in 2013, up 11.5 percent from the previous year's $31.5 billion. It is the fastest growth rate in five years, according to the Organic Trade Association.
"Today, Organic Valley delivers daily the highest quality organic food in the U.S. to millions of consumers," said George Siemon, a founding farmer and CEIEIO of Organic Valley. "Our success means we can provide a lifeline to more than 1,800 family farms and meaningful employment to 875 staff members. We are past and present leaders in the organic movement and will continue to lead into the future," continued Siemon.
2015 sales growth represents a profit of $36.8 million, a seven percent increase over 2014. Thanks to that growth, and conservative supply management in more difficult years, Organic Valley was able to issue a bonus 13th check that was distributed in March 2016 to all farmer-owners in the Cooperative.
True to its mission, 2015 was also a year of record increase in Organic Valley farmer pay price to an average of $36.79 for dairy with an organic premium of $19.38 per cwt., an average increase of 10 percent in most regions. That increase allowed Organic Valley dairy farmers to earn the highest organic premium over conventional dairy prices since the 2009 recession.
Additionally, a drought relief program piloted in 2015 was extended to aid farm families who suffered debilitating, severe drought conditions. Those families will continue to receive monthly relief payments through 2016, paying members based on length of time and severity of drought suffered.
Organic Valley was also proud to give back to the larger community, supporting more than 1,000 non-profit organizations and schools with $6.2 million in total philanthropic donations and sponsorships.
Meaningful employment and employee dedication within the Cooperative was recognized in 2015, too. In December, Organic Valley was named one of Outside magazine's 100 best places to work in the U.S. The farmer-owned cooperative was named #38 in the overall list and number five in the Health & Wellness category. The companies who made the list encourage employees to lead an active and eco-conscious lifestyle, and prioritize giving back to the community. Organic Valley also added 65 jobs, ending 2015 with 875 staff and impressive employee profit sharing.
Other noteworthy year-end highlights:
- The "Brononymous Hotline," a follow up to last year's successful "Save the Bros" viral campaign, together earned a combined 10 million video views and helped make Organic Valley Organic Fuel the number one selling organic milk protein shake in the grocery channel.
- Organic Valley Grassmilk™, made from the milk of cows are 100 percent grassfed, grew at double digits in all channels. Organic Valley Grassmilk™ is the number one 100 percent grassfed dairy brand.
- Organic Valley Grassmilk™ Yogurt was introduced in July 2015 and became the number one distributed yogurt tub in the natural/organic category.
- Organic Prairie, the brand of organic meats produced by the same farmer-owned co-op as Organic Valley, launched Mighty Bar, the first certified organic 100% grassfed beef meat snacks.
Organic Valley: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation's leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents more than 1,800 farmers in 36 states. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs and produce, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. With its regional model, milk is produced, bottled and distributed right in the region where it is farmed to ensure fewer miles from farm to table and to support local economies. For further information visit www.organicvalley.coop. Organic Valley is also on Twitter @OrganicValley and Facebook www.facebook.com/OrganicValley.
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SOURCE Organic Valley