Organic Agriculture Up 90 Percent in Wisconsin

Governor Doyle Dedicates New Organic Valley Distribution Center,
Announces Grants to Continue Growth Across the State

CASHTON – Governor Jim Doyle today announced organic farming in Wisconsin has risen by more than 90 percent in the last five years, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Wisconsin’s entire organic industry – from processors to businesses to farms – has grown by 17 percent in the last year alone.  Governor Doyle highlighted this surge in organic agriculture during a grand opening for Organic Valley’s new distribution center in Cashton. 

Governor Doyle also announced $57,000 to continue growing organic agriculture in Wisconsin – ensuring high quality organic goods from Wisconsin farms, and growing Wisconsin’s agricultural industry. 

“Agriculture is the cornerstone of our state economy,” Governor Doyle said.  “It is part of who we are as a state, and generates $51 billion annually for our economy.  To prepare our agricultural industry and the farm families who support it for the future, we must invest and foster the growth of organic agriculture, and continue producing high quality, organic goods that Wisconsin makes famous.”

Wisconsin ranks first nationally in organic dairy operations, and first in organically raised livestock.  Wisconsin has 807 organic farms across the state – ranking second nationally behind California.  Wisconsin is also in the top five states for organic corn, soybeans, oats, barley, rye and hay production, and in the top ten for organically grown vegetables and flowers.

To continue growing organic farming across Wisconsin, Governor Doyle announced the following grants:

·         $20,000 to Michael Fields Agriculture Institute in East Troy to develop nutritional organic poultry feed;

·         $14,500 to Home Grown Wisconsin in Madison to develop and implement food safety protocols for organic farm production; and

·         $22,500 to support research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Horticulture Department, to develop farming practices for large scale organic vegetable production.

Organic Valley is a farmer-owned co-op producer of organic milk, cheese, butter, eggs, juice, soy beverages, produce, and meats.   Organic Valley’s membership has reached over 900 family farms that excel in high quality, award winning organic products. 

Organic Valley’s new, 80,000 square-foot, $17.5 million facility in Cashton will serve as the company’s primary warehouse and distribution center, handling the co-op’s fluid milk products from the Midwest, as well as its national specialty products.

Last year, Governor Doyle announced a $529,000 Transportation Economic Assistance grant to the city of Cashton to upgrade infrastructure in the area – improving access to Organic Valley’s expansion.

View a map identifying certified organic farms and businesses across Wisconsin: