Organic Valley - Mission Statement and Policies

Mission Statement and Policies

The mission of the Cooperative Regions of Organic Producer Pools (CROPP) is to create and operate a marketing cooperative that promotes regional farm diversity and economic stability by the means of organic agricultural methods and the sale of certified organic products.

Organic agriculture is rooted in the growth of the animal, plant or seed that is to be harvested. Guidelines for the growth and care of organic products were set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) upon the creation of the National Organic Program (NOP), which was passed on April 21, 2002. Any farm that wishes to be certified as organic must meet the requirements of the NOP. Organic crops must be raised without the use of herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers. They also cannot be treated with any chemicals post-harvest. Alternatively, livestock whose meat or milk are to be harvested cannot be treated with any antibiotic or synthetic hormones or ingest any genetically modified plants or organisms during their growth or milking years (all livestock food must be certified as organic). In addition to the growth of the product, the harvest and post-harvest treatment of the product is strictly regulated, prohibiting the use of some chemicals and post-harvest production methods.

Farms that switch to organic practices will not be certified as organic until three years after they stop using synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals. Thus, farms cannot simply alternate between organic and non-organic production when they wish due to this three-year "cleansing" rule.

George Siemon, one of the founding farmers of CROPP, is the CEO of the Organic Valley. Once a member of the National Organic Standards Board, George Siemon has been instrumental in the adoption and propagation of organic agricultural practices and helps to set the standards for Organic Valley. Each of the farms that sustain this company is certified as organic (i.e., it follows all of the guidelines set forth by the NOP). Organic Valley also uses pasteurization and homogenization in many of its dairy products, even though it has been criticized in this area for not being fundamentally aligned with organic food preservation. In January 2008, Organic Valley opposed the Food and Drug Administration’s ruling that food from cloned animals and their offspring is safe.

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