Organic Dairy Farmers Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Receive Payment

Organic Valley announced that the first agreements as well as payments have been provided to initial organic farmers participating in Organic Valley’s Carbon Insetting Program (OVCIP).

Building off the University of Wisconsin-Madison published research, which showed Organic Valley’s average on-farm milk emissions were some of the lowest in the nation, the cooperative is taking the next step to improve the carbon footprint of its milk.

“These are real funds for farmers taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.,” CEO Jeff Frank said. “As a cooperative business, we are committed to these organic farmers with long-term agreements and relationships. The farmers are committed to us with verified carbon reductions and, of course, organic milk. We’re building this business to deliver for farmers who deserve to be rewarded for their efforts. We’re supporting customers who want real choices for climate-friendly dairy.”

As a recipient of the USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant, the co-op is offering additional support for practices implemented on eligible Organic Valley member-owner farms. These include selecting and scoping region-specific projects, verification of those projects, and then helping to fund the practice installation. 

Organic Valley’s carbon insetting program is category first in offering end-to-end support and also a market price for per ton of third-party verified carbon reduction or removal by a participating farm. The co-op offers technical assistance to help farmers plan and design carbon-reducing projects, sources grant implementation funds and also ensures monitoring and verification of those projects.

The initial projects occurring across regions, and the first set of farmer agreements include on-farm projects like:

  • Trees planted in actively grazed pastures.
  • Renewable energy installations at farmsteads.
  • Upgraded manure management technology.
  • Enteric-reducing feed supplements.

This level of direct involvement and openness is rare in the industry. This makes Organic Valley’s program a unique as well as traceable model for carbon insetting in agriculture. Read Organic Valley’s blog Rootstock to learn more about how organic farmers are implementing these practices. 

“We promote a food production system that produces good food for people but maintains an environment that does not deplete natural resources,” said Organic Valley dairy farmer Chris Wilson from Wisconsin. “The goal is constantly trying to find ways to sequester carbon and make healthy soil. Healthy soil supports healthy cows, healthy cows make delicious and nutritious milk — all this goes hand in hand.”