Organic Valley is a co-op.  What that means is that the farmers own it.  The farmers manufacture the milk and Organic Valley is the marketer of our products and thus considered the farmers’ employees.  That puts it in simple terms.  However, I would like to try to describe what Organic Valley truly embodies.

Our Annual Meeting is being held next week.  It is an experience I wish all consumers of our products could attend.  The feeling of being one is never stronger, and our commitment to consumers, employees, and our mission is openly apparent.  One of the highlights for me is when our Marketing Team shows videos of everyday consumers telling us how much they love our products.  It just reaffirms our commitment to produce the best quality milk every day.

Crowd of Organic Valley farmers at their annual meeting 2016.

Photo by Richard Bock, Blue Orbit Studio

Our co-op incorporates farmers in every aspect of the company if we choose.  As a farmer, my value to the co-op is not only in producing milk on the farm, but my voice, opinions, and life experiences are important, too. Our employees are highly valued and deserve the respect they give us to be given right back to them.  Our consumers want the best quality products and a co-op that respects the land and animals.  These things are all what our mission statement says.

We have issues; not everything is always perfect, but we solve these with working together, no one dictating an agenda, and always with the idea that we have to do better.

I saw on the news that the Chairman of Ford Motor Company is giving his employees credit for saving the company from bankruptcy. His words were, “A company has to be more than a paycheck.  It has to give people something more.  If you don’t have a culture that means something, then you’re just going to have the experience of a bunch of transient employees who go to the next company, to the next great idea, and they won’t give us a second thought.”

Why is Organic Valley different than all other co-ops in the country?  Because we incorporate the above words in how we do business, but have gone beyond that.  George, our CEO, uses the quote “None of us is as smart as all of us.”

Why is Organic Valley special?  Because we really do want to succeed financially, but even more, we want to succeed in how we live our lives and how we can affect others with that goodness.

Photo by Richard Bock, Blue Orbit Studio