Farmer Focus (Shenandoah Valley Organic)

Farm/Brand HeadquartersHarrisonburg, VA
Market AreaEast coast, midwest
Total Score1230

Shenandoah Valley Organic (SVO) brands are supplied by a group of farmers that all use similar practices. Despite being a mid-sized brand, SVO was transparent with Cornucopia investigators.

They feature their farmer suppliers in interviews that include photos, and are fairly transparent to the public about their housing and general management practices.

Their website notes that: “Shenandoah Valley Organic Chicken is both Certified Organic and Certified Humane, and its unique Farm ID code allows consumers to see the actual farm and farmer that the package they are holding came from, and read about the farmer’s story. The four-letter code can simply be entered into the Farm ID field at and consumers are immediately connected with the source of their dinner.”

Consumers can find SVO’s products at retailers in the east coast, eastern midwest; and also available through e-commerce (Butcher Box, Fresh Direct).

TOTAL (possible score is 1800) 1230
4-Bird Rating | Excellent
Family Farms and cooperatives receive the most points. Corporations and companies with poor or negligible farm oversight receive the fewest points.
Ownership structure
80Closely held business — close ties/partnership with farmers
100% organic brands receive the most points. Split operations receive fewer with increased penalties for poor segregation at the processor and farm level.
Dedication to Organic Production
100100% organic production (brand does not market conventional)
Farms that participated in Cornucopia’s research providing full transparency receive the most points.
Transparency and Disclosure
90Fully transparent on survey
Points determined by integrity of the brand’s organic certifier.
Organic Certifier
100International Certification Services (ICS) (individual farms will have different certifiers)
To receive full points, flocks must number 500 birds or fewer (200 for turkeys).
Flock size
20Well over 4000 birds per flock with good dedication to maintaining high-welfare stocking density indoors
No more than 1.5 lbs of bird per square foot is required for full points.
Stocking Density
40Moderate stocking densities, generally no more than 5lbs per square foot
Mobile housing receives the highest number of points.
Housing Style
40Fixed housing with clear dedication to providing minimum outdoor access
Heritage varieties receive the highest number of points.
Strain and/or Breed and Slaughter Age
50Fast growing-type birds used, slaughtered around 6.5 weeks
Birds must spend 3/4ths or more of their lives outdoors for full points.
Timing for Outdoor Access
40Birds spend less than ½ of their lives outdoors outdoor access
Enrichments include but are not limited to shade structures, water, novel feedstuff (greens, mealworms, sprouted grains), and dust baths.
Enrichments (outdoor and indoor)
60Offers indoor enrichment, exceeds 25% vegetation in outdoor areas and provide shade and other enrichments for the birds
Points awarded for labels that go above and beyond organic.
Other Labels/Standards
60Certified Humane; GAP Step 3, Non GMO, Gluten Free
Maximum points given for high quality, rotated pasture. Non-rotated pasture adjacent to fixed housing with lower than 90% vegetative cover receives fewer points.
Outdoor Management
60Provides indoor enrichment and ensures outdoor areas are vegetated
100 points for on-farm production and/or milling of feed. Fewest points given to feed that cannot be verified as domestic and/or birds get poor or no supplementation from outdoor foraging.
Feed Sourcing
90Feed from domestic source, feed is also GMO free
Methionine needs met by outdoor foraging receives 100 points. Synthetic supplementation receives 70 points.
Synthetic Methionine
60Some farms fed maximum allowed
Under 5% cull and death rate required for full points.
Cull/death Rate
100Low cull and death rates
Chicks and poults that are certified organic since hatching, or are hatched on-farm receive 100 points. Off-farm or conventional chicks and poults receive 70 points.
Chick and Poult Sourcing
70Purchase chicks/poults from conventional hatcheries (allowed practice in organic production)
No physical alterations required for full points. Permitting beak tipping results in fewer points.
Physical Alterations
100No physical alterations performed
Measures farm oversight. Farmer owned brands, or daily visits by management required for maximum points.
Farm Support
70Brand visits supplier farms regularly
Non-scoring, category provided for information only.
Slaughter Method (non-scoring)
Electrified stunning bath
Non-scoring, category provided for information only.
Soy Free Ration? (non-scoring)
Soy likely fed
Maximum transparency, sharing of the organic systems plan, and/or novel practices that sets the brand apart from the rest of the industry can result in extra credit points.
Extra Credit