Pointing to a decade’s loss of 100,000 small family farms, Organic Valley recently announced a plan that will hopefully distance 80 Northeast organic dairy farms from that bleak statistic.
Organic Valley is offering those 80 farms, most of which were deserted by Danone in its quest for improved financial performance, a new market for their dairy.
These small dairies were remaining bright spots within Danone’s Horizon brand, which is increasingly doubling down on milk from industrialized operations that produce high concentrations of manure and are likely reliant on feed shipped across the globe. The cheap “organic” milk coming out of these operations has had a crippling effect on authentic organic farms who deserve our support.
Organic Valley’s announcement offers a glimmer of much-needed hope in the beleaguered organic dairy marketplace. More good news came with the announcement of USDA funding that will provide an infrastructure boost to regional organic dairy.
Cornucopia is pleased by these developments and simultaneously concerned by recent comments from Danone, which assured investors that there are “no sacred cows” and it will “keep pruning” its portfolio in its goal to reverse recent underperformance.
The company suggested that it would continue to cut costs at Horizon, while prioritizing investments in shinier portfolio products such as conventional yogurt, bottled water, and plant-based food and beverages.
The dairy giant’s unabashed appetite for profit and cold determination to remove any obstacles in its path are a stark contrast to feel-good marketing and public relations that tout “climate-friendly” and “carbon positive” agriculture.
But Danone’s PR machine is making a risky bet, one that assumes consumers either don’t care or don’t have the information they need to make a choice that truly aligns with their values. (A barrage of criticism on Danone’s Facebook page underscores this faulty thinking. If you agree, leave your own comment and let them know Cornucopia sent you.)
Authentic organic dairy production provides benefits for soil, human, and environmental health. You can support these options by choosing local organic dairy or using our Organic Dairy Scorecard. Read more about organic dairy, and how one co-op has been supporting authentic organic dairy for decades, in the Organic Dairy corner of our website.
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