Sassy Cow Creamery

Farm/Brand HeadquartersColumbus, WI
ProductsFluid milk
Market AreaIL, WI
Total Score1235

They write: “Sassy Cow Creamery is a farmstead milk bottling facility located near Madison, Wis. Our two dairy herds, one conventional and one organic, supply our creamery with fresh milk. Both the farms are owned and operated by brothers, James and Robert Baerwolf along with their families. They are the third generation to farm the land that their grandfather purchased in 1946.

James and Robert both graduated from UW-Madison and began dairying immediately after college. Both have all worked with dairy cattle since the time they were old enough to follow their parents around on the farm and this is where their love for cows began. It is because of this background that we place the highest value on the well-being of our animals and every farm-related decision must be good for the cows. The success of the families’ farm is directly related to how well the dairy cattle are cared for. Our families have always farmed with the cows taking center stage. We feel strongly that all aspects of Sassy Cow Creamery should be no different even the brand name conveys the attitude that it all starts with superior cows.

Our love for all dairying led us to a unique situation of having two distinct herds, traditional and organic. Our conventional herd has grown from 50 cows in the nineties to the current herd of 450 cows. These cattle live on a new farm site built in 1999 and expanded in 2003. They are milked in a parlor and housed in a sand-bedded freestall barn. During the nice times of the year, cattle are allowed to go out on grass pastures to exercise or lay in the sun.

In 2000, we recognized the growing consumer trend of interest in organic foods so we took and grew a portion of our herd using organic practices. This herd consists of 250 cows and they live just one half mile north of the Sassy Cow Creamery location. The organic cows eat a considerable part of their diet from grass on the organic pastures located on this farm.

Each milking cow is tested monthly for milk quality so we can offer the safest and highest quality products to you. Prior to the creation of our creamery, our milk was put on a truck and pooled with other farms and that was the last we ever saw of it. But having such great pride in what we produce, we decided to bring our great milk all the way to the consumer themselves, and therefore, Sassy Cow Creamery was built.”

TOTAL (possible score is 1600)1235
4-Cow Rating | Excellent
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 owned business/family 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
80Both organic and conventional milk processed (properties kept separate)
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
60Brand markets conventional and organic; processed in same creamery
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
100Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA)
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
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.
40Markets "pasture raised" with good grazing compliance
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.
70Fair 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
20High 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 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.
75Removed shortly after birth (standard practice)
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 hormones used
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
100Staff visits farm daily
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 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

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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