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This is the Crazy Story of What Happens When A Bunch of Idealistic Farmers Decide to Start a Company

By   /  October 23, 2017  /  No Comments

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Thirty years ago, seven organic farmers had this crazy idea that farmers should get paid well and that food should be raised in a healthy way. And instead of just sitting there and talking about it, they took they plunge and banded together to start a farmer-owned cooperative: Organic Valley.

They didn’t get paid much at first (a $5 an hour salary with a big raise to $7 back in the old days), but they had a passion. Now thirty years later, their dream has turned into a cooperative where farmers get to do what they love, in a network of support. The board of directors is entirely made up of farmers, and all the farmers earn a fair living. In fact, Organic Valley is the world’s largest independent Cooperative of organic family farmers and one of the nation’s largest producers and distributors of organic produce, dairy, soy, and eggs. They’re a great example of what people can do when they step up and work together.

This 2:43 video tells the whole crazy story (AND it was made by the farmers!)

This story appeals to us because it’s a lot like what we did when we started up. We thought that farmers should get the best information out there. So we started On Pasture back in March of 2013. Our starting salary was a little less than the Organic Valley Farmers – $0 for 3 years. All the while we translated science into practices you can use, telling you what doesn’t hold up under testing, and bringing in more and more of your fellow farmers and ranchers to share their experiences. Four years in, On Pasture is now read by 100,000 readers a month, including YOU. Best of all, you tell us that what we’re doing is helpful. In fact, every single person who responded to our spring survey said they were doing something differently as a result of reading On Pasture.

Organic Valley knows a good idea when they see one and they appreciated our idea and what we have done with it. Because they see how important On Pasture is to farmers and ranchers, Organic Valley is supporting On Pasture as sponsors, now and for years to come.

Help Us Thank Organic Valley!

Having the support of Organic Valley is good news for On Pasture and all our readers because they help On Pasture keep going for the long haul. So we hope you’ll take a minute and send a note to Jenny Bernhardt, the person we work with at Organic Valley, to tell her thanks and that you appreciate Organic Valley’s support.

And then we hope you’ll take another minute to help On Pasture with our grant match. We have to bring in $15,000 in reader support every year or the grant funding dries up and so does On Pasture. Please head over here to contribute today.

Thank you!

Kathy and Rachel

P.S. Would you like to be an On Pasture sponsor? Head over here for more information.

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  • Published: 4 weeks ago on October 23, 2017
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  • Last Modified: October 24, 2017 @ 4:13 am
  • Filed Under: The Scoop

About the author

editor and contributor

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she’s not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.

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