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.

CriteriaRatingComment
TOTAL (possible score is 1600)1540
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
100Farmer-owned farm
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
100Single farm
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
100Stellar Certification Services
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
100Biodynamic Certified
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.
Grass-fed
80Exceeds USDA percent intake requirements
No point value – this information is offered for buyers interested in milk from cows without soy in their diets.
Soy Free Ration?
Yes
Rating based on (a) policies of brand, (b) enforcement/oversight (c) acreage available per cow, (d) average days on pasture (e) investigative actions.
Pasture
100Excellent pasture compliance
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
100Very low cull and 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.
Replacements
100Closed herd
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.
Calves
85Calves raised first few weeks with mothers
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
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 (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
100Single farm
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 dairy ingredients used
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
0None

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