Lifeline Farm

Rating
Farm/Brand HeadquartersVictor, MT
ProductsCheese
Websitewww.lifelinefarm.com
Market AreaID, MT, OR, WA, Web Sales
Total Score1540

Lifeline Farm Inc. was founded in 1978 in Victor, Montana by a group of young men and women who wished to grow nutritious, organic and biodynamic foods to nourish people in their community and throughout the US. Originally, Lifeline grew field-scale vegetable crops, selling vegetables in Montana and on the West Coast, off the farm and operating a market stand. The dairy was added in 1984 in order to diversify the operation but also to provide a source of on-farm fertility. We manage a herd of about 400 Brown Swiss cows, bulls, calves and steers that make up Lifeline Farm Inc. Long revered by the Swiss as an excellent, dual-purpose breed, the Brown Swiss produce rich milk, which is used to make cheese, butter and bottled milk all done at our Creamery, as well as delicious beef, which is sold throughout Montana. Lifeline Farm also “recycles” many feeds by raising pigs which are then sold as pork cuts and in home style sausage.

CriteriaPointsComment
TOTAL (possible score is 1600 plus extra credit) 1540
5-Cow Rating | Top-Rated
Farmstead dairies earn the most points. Corporations that have a history of skirting the organic rules receive the fewest.
Ownership structure
100Farmer-owned farm
Farms that produce 100% of their milk receive the most points. Milk from "open market" or known confinement dairies receive the fewest.
Milk Supply
100Single farm
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
100Full disclosure
Points determined by integrity of the brand’s organic certifier.
Organic Certification
100Stellar Certification Services
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
100Biodynamic Certified
100% grass-fed with independent verification of standards
Grass-fed
80Exceeds USDA 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?
Yes
Sliding scale based on policies, enforcement, acreage/cow, days/year on pasture, and permissible exemption.
Pasture
100Excellent 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
100Very low cull and death rate
Farms with closed herds receive the most points. Farms that sell organic calves and buy conventional replacements receive the fewest.
Replacements
100Closed herd
Standard practice is removing calves shortly after birth, with extra points given for unique ways of managing calves
Calves
85Calves raised first few weeks with mothers
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
85No routine hormone use, but some may be used to prevent infection from retained placenta (no growth hormones are ever usedb in organics)
Farmstead dairies (owner lives on-site) receive the most points. Fewer points are given as oversight declines.
Farm Support
100Single farm
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 dairy 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
0None