UNH farm joins national organic co-op
The University of New Hampshire Organic Dairy Research Farm has joined the national Organic Valley farmers cooperative as a milk supplier and full voting member.
The UNH Organic Dairy will serve as both an applied research center for integrated organic production and management and an education center for organic dairy farmers, farmers undergoing or considering transition to organic and students of sustainable agriculture. UNH is the first land-grant university in the nation to launch an organic research dairy farm.
“The partnership between UNH and Organic Valley will help further organic education in the region and continue to build the Northeast regional organic dairy program developed by Organic Valley and Stonyfield Farm over the last decade,” said John Cleary, Organic Valley’s New England regional pool coordinator.
Charles Schwab, professor of animal and nutritional sciences at UNH and a leader in launching the organic dairy research farm, said, “This entire effort is about preservation of small family farms. Given the continued growth in demand for organic foods and the lack of scientific support behind organic food production the land grant universities have such an important role to play. When added to the ever-increasing health issues, such as obesity and diabetes facing our people and the need to help farmers stay in business and provide high quality foods, I can’t imagine a more important area of research focus for a land-grant university than what we have started. In my more than 30 years at UNH this is by far the most important initiative that I have been involved in.”
The first shipment of milk went from UNH to Stonyfield Farm in Londonderry, where it will be made into Stonyfield Farm yogurt and smoothies. Organic Valley will pick up milk every other day from UNH. On days when it does not go to Stonyfield Farm, the milk will go to Organic Valley’s processing partner in Connecticut, Guida Dairy, where it will be made into Organic Valley “New England Pastures” brand organic milk. – JEFF FEINGOLD