Burroughs Family Farms (Full Circle Dairy)

Farm/Brand HeadquartersDenair, CA
ProductsFluid milk, cheese
Market AreaCA
Total Score1515

They write: “Full Circle Dairy (marketed under the brand name Burroughs Family Farms) has been certified organic since 2007. Our dairy farm in Merced County, California is about 900 acres – 350 of those are irrigated and 450 are native pasture.

We use management intensive grazing practices (rotational grazing) with our herd of 500 cows. The cows are out on pasture most of the year. When they cannot be on pasture they are fed a diet of our harvested and dried grass silage.

We are proud to be able to now offer fresh whole milk that is vat pasteurized and non-homogenized straight to our consumers in California.

FCD is a partnership of Brian and Christina Bylsma along with Christina’s parents Ward and Rosie Burroughs. Brian and Christina’s kids are 5th generation future dairymen. We have a family heritage of dairying that is over 100 years old.

Our definition of sustainability is like a 3-legged stool: 1. Caring for and protecting the environment, 2. Being economically sound and 3. Taking care of our employees and community.

We also have certified organic pastured poultry and have a 5 egg rating with the Cornucopia Institute.”

TOTAL (possible score is 1600)1515
5-Cow Rating | Top-Rated—Beyond Organic
Farmstead dairies who live on-site (or work their own dairy daily) receive top points for this category. No transparency and/or no answer receive no points.
Ownership structure
100Family-run dairy
Farmstead dairies and well-managed cooperatives with only their own patrons get top points in this category. Fewer points go to brands that have less control over their milk supply.
Milk Supply
100Uses only their own milk
Brands that do not also market any conventional products receive top points in this category. Brands that are less dedicated to organics receive fewer points.
Organic Production
100Brand only markets organic
The best transparency toward Cornucopia investigators is rewarded by full points.
Disclosure of Information for Verification
100Full disclosure
If a top-rated organic certifier certifies this brand they receive full points. Certifiers with questionable practices receive fewer points.
Organic Certification
75Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO)
If this brand has other third-party labels, particularly animal-welfare labels, that will provide them extra points in this category depending on the particular label and its standards.
Other Labels/Standards
20Validus Animal welfare certified; Kosher
100% Grass-fed with independent verification or independent standards to ensure compliance will receive full points in this category. Other points are attributed to how much forage composes the dairy cows’ diets.
75Label says "milk from pasture raised cows" with percent of diet from grass above the minimum
No point value – this information is offered for buyers interested in milk from cows without soy in their diets.
Soy Free Ration?
Rating based on (a) policies of brand, (b) enforcement/oversight (c) acreage available per cow, (d) average days on pasture (e) investigative actions.
80Good pasture compliance in a challenging climate
Where cows are milked one to two times per day they receive top points. It's standard organic protocol to milk two times a day. Dairies that milk three-to-four times a day is one indicator of factory-organics.
Times Milked
90Two times a day (standard protocol on legitimate organic dairies)
A cull and/or death rate under 10% annually receives full points.
Cull/death Rate
100Low cull/death rate
Closed herd (meaning the brand raises all their replacement cattle) receives full points. If conventional animals are purchased, the brand receives fewer points.
100Closed herds (all replacements raised in-farm)
If this brand has a unique way of managing calves they receive more points. If they remove the calf shortly after birth (the standard practice) they receive 70 points.
75Calves separated shortly after birth (standard) and raised in groups
When the brand prohibits all antibiotic use they receive full points. No answer receives no points.
Antibiotic Use
100No antibiotic use
When no hormones are used on farm(s) this brand receives full points. When the brand uses hormones therapeutically post-birth the brand receives 50 points.
Hormone Usage
100No hormone use
Farmstead dairies (lives on site) get full points and cooperative/corporations that set standards and have staff that visit the supplying dairies also receive top points. No direct supervision and/or personal relationship with farm(s) gets low or no points.
Farm Support
100Family business
Full control of any added ingredients (100% come from within organization) receives top points. Dairy ingredients purchased from a number of different vendors (with less direct control) receives fewer points in this category.
Procurement of Ingredients
100No outside ingredients
Several questions were asked in addition to the original survey questions that would ultimately give producers “extra credit” points. Look for details in individual brand explanations.
Extra Credit
100Very transparent - full dairy OSP shared

In the spirit of the 2018 giving season, a generous Cornucopia member has offered to DOUBLE ALL DONATIONS made in support of authentic and local food from true family farms. We hope you’ll take this opportunity to increase your impact with a gift to Cornucopia.

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