Grassmilk (Organic Valley)

Rating4
Farm/Brand HeadquartersLaFarge, WI
ProductsFluid milk, yogurt, grassfed
Websitewww.organicvalley.coop/products/milk/grassmilk
Market AreaNationwide
DescriptionOrganic Valley's Grassmilk brand is purported to be 100% grass-based (no grain or legumes are fed). They may still allow molasses to be fed.
Total Score1390
CriteriaPointsComment
TOTAL (possible score is 1600 plus extra credit) 1390
Farmstead dairies earn the most points. Corporations that have a history of skirting the organic rules receive the fewest.
Ownership structure
90Farmer-owned cooperative
Farms that produce 100% of their milk receive the most points. Milk from "open market" or known confinement dairies receive the fewest.
Milk Supply
90Cooperative- sourced only (no factory farms are found in Organic Valley's Grassmilk brand, as factory farms cannot operate on a 100% grass diet)
100% organic farms receive the most points. Split operations with conventional dairy on the same property receive the fewest.
Organic Production
100Brand only markets organic
Farms that completed the survey in detail received the most points.
Disclosure of Information for Verification
100Good transparency
Points determined by integrity of the brand’s organic certifier.
Organic Certification
75Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO)
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
10None. However, many individual farmers may have other certifications
100% grass-fed with independent verification of standards
Grass-fed
100Grassmilk dairies have diets consisting of 100% pasture and forage with co-op standards. Cattle may also be fed molasses.
No points are given for this but the information may be useful to certain consumers looking to avoid soy.
Soy Free Ration?
Yes
Sliding scale based on policies, enforcement, acreage/cow, days/year on pasture, and permissible exemption.
Pasture
100High-level grazing is done in organic Valley’s “Grassmilk” brand.
One time/day receives the most points. Two times per day is standard.
Times Milked
90Milk twice a day (standard organic practice)
Lower cull rate scores better, with under 10% receiving the most points.
Cull/death Rate
80Moderate cull/death rate. Will vary widely between farms
Farms with closed herds receive the most points. Farms that sell organic calves and buy conventional replacements receive the fewest.
Replacements
100Closed herds
Standard practice is removing calves shortly after birth, with extra points given for unique ways of managing calves
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
100No hormone use
Farmstead dairies (owner lives on-site) receive the most points. Fewer points are given as oversight declines.
Farm Support
90Cooperative/corporation that sets standards and has a staff that visits farms 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
90Outside ingredients from trusted sources
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
0None