Cedar Grove Cheese

Farm/Brand HeadquartersPlain, WI
Market AreaCA, East, Midwest, Web Sales
Total Score1155

Cedar Grove Cheese is the quintessential small, family-owned cheese plant in Wisconsin. Once commonly dotting the countryside, in almost every rural community, Cedar Grove is now more like a living museum today. Their dedication to making high-quality specialty cheeses, and concentrating on organics, has allowed them to remain in business, a real asset to their community.

Half of their milk comes from smaller family-scale farmers (“patrons”) who ship exclusively to Cedar Grove, the other half they purchase from farmer-owned cooperatives, also dominated by smaller farms.

TOTAL (possible score is 1600 plus extra credit) 1155
4-Cow Rating | Excellent
Farmstead dairies earn the most points. Corporations that have a history of skirting the organic rules receive the fewest.
Ownership structure
80Family-owned business
Farms that produce 100% of their milk receive the most points. Milk from "open market" or known confinement dairies receive the fewest.
Milk Supply
75Milk from independent producers and a trusted cooperative
100% organic farms receive the most points. Split operations with conventional dairy on the same property receive the fewest.
Organic Production
50Markets both organic and conventional products
Farms that completed the survey in detail received the most points.
Disclosure of Information for Verification
90Excellent disclosure
Points determined by integrity of the brand’s organic certifier.
Organic Certification
90Majority of farms certified by Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA), with some certified by Oregon Tilth and NCIS
Animal Welfare Approved and Biodynamic certifications receive the most bonus points. Producers are not penalized for not having additional certifications beyond organic.
Other Labels/Standards
100% grass-fed with independent verification of standards
40Meets USDA minimum percent intake requirements
No points are given for this but the information may be useful to certain consumers looking to avoid soy.
Soy Free Ration?
Sliding scale based on policies, enforcement, acreage/cow, days/year on pasture, and permissible exemption.
75Good pasture compliance
One time/day receives the most points. Two times per day is standard.
Times Milked
90Two times a day (standard protocol on legitimate organic dairies)
Lower cull rate scores better, with under 10% receiving the most points.
Cull/death Rate
75Moderate cull rate
Farms with closed herds receive the most points. Farms that sell organic calves and buy conventional replacements receive the fewest.
75Majority of herds closed
Standard practice is removing calves shortly after birth, with extra points given for unique ways of managing calves
75Removed shortly after birth (standard practice)
Farms that prohibit antibiotics receive the most points. Farms that allow young stock to receive antibiotics (under one year), receive the fewest.
Antibiotic Use
100No antibiotic use
No hormones is the standard, however some farms do use oxytocin for therapeutic purposes.
Hormone Usage
50Not to their knowledge; reproductive hormones may be used therapeutically
Farmstead dairies (owner lives on-site) receive the most points. Fewer points are given as oversight declines.
Farm Support
90Representatives visit farm regularly
All ingredients sourced from inside the organization or on the farm receives the highest points. Ingredients from confinement factory farms and/or imported ingredients receive the fewest.
Procurement of Ingredients
100No outside ingredients used
Various levels of extra credit given for 1) providing full organic systems plan, 2) providing details on all farms (multi-farm brands, details on largest five required), and 3) sourcing feed on-farm or domestically.
Extra Credit