Wider Organic Milk Supply Allows Stonyfield Farm to Convert More Products

Londonderry, N.H. -- Faced with the prospect of the largest organic milk supply ever, Stonyfield Farm here said it is converting all its smoothies and 32-ounce yogurts to organic or, in some cases, back to organic.

As a result of the increased supply, Stonyfield Farm said it will buy 48 percent more organic milk than in 2006.

"Thanks to careful planning with our partner, Organic Valley/CROPP, a Wisconsin dairy cooperative of 966 organic dairy farmers across the U.S., we will have enough organic milk to meet the growth in consumer demand in 2007, support new product launches, and position ourselves for long-term growth," said Stonyfield Farm president and "CE-Yo" Gary Hirshberg in a statement.

"Certainly, it continues to be our ultimate goal to offer all our products in organic form, and with the upcoming conversion we're almost there," he said.

The company's fat-free 6-ounce line remains all-natural, rBST free, and without artificial bovine growth hormone, and artificial colors and flavors.

May 1 is the target date for the product conversions:

The increase in organic milk supply is due to the growing number of conventional farmers completing their conversion to organic, a regulated process requiring that grazing land and feed are not treated with chemical fertilizers or persistent toxic pesticides for three years, Stonyfield Farm said. Higher farmer pay prices for organic milk, an unsustainably low pay price for milk to non-organic farmers, and growing consumer demand are several of the factors behind the increase in supply.

Stonyfield Farm and Organic Valley/CROPP have worked together in recent years to further encourage organic conversion. In addition to establishing a transition fund to provide monetary support for farmers during the conversion process and providing more staff to work directly with farmers, the companies scheduled hundreds of procurement and membership retention events, and sponsored organic workshops and conferences for farmers. In addition, Stonyfield Farm was the lead sponsor, with a gift of $450,000, of the nation's first land grant-based organic dairy farm, at the University of New Hampshire.
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