Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about being a member of the co-op, membership perks, equity, where to buy feed, sustainability, certification or any other question?  Contact our friendly and knowledgeable staff on our Farmer Hotline at 888-809-9297 Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Central Time or by e-mail at: farmerhotline@organicvalley.coop.

What is the CROPP Cooperative business model?

In 1988, a group of Wisconsin farmers who shared a desire to save family farms and a belief in sustainable agriculture founded CROPP Cooperative. Its brands, Organic Valley, Organic Prairie and Mighty, soon followed. Today, CROPP is America's largest cooperative of organic farmers, and Organic Valley is one of the nation's leading organic brands.

CROPP Cooperative is an independent and farmer-owned cooperative, which means the farmers have a voice in the cooperative because they own it. The farmers—through the board of directors, elected by the farmers from the farmer membership—uphold sustainable farming practices such as pasturing animals and treating them humanely, ensuring CROPP farmers meet and often exceed USDA organic requirements.

How can I become a member of the co-op?

The new member requirements are available here. If you are looking to farm with us or have any questions, contact us on our Farmer Hotline at 888-809-9297, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Central or by email at farmerhotline@organicvalley.coop.

What does it cost to be a member of CROPP Cooperative?

CROPP Cooperative requires each member to meet the equity requirement equal to 5.5 percent of the farmer's base annual income. (Payment options are available.) Click here to learn more about our equity program.

Where do you have farms?

CROPP represents more than 2,000 organic farms in 34 states, Canada and Australia. Here's a handy way to find farms close to you

What is an organic certifier?

An organic certifier is an agency accredited and authorized to certify operations to the USDA organic standards. Although CROPP requires all of our farms to have a current organic certificate, we are not a certifying body. There are currently 80 certifying agents that are USDA-accredited and authorized to certify operations to the USDA organic standards. Of these, 48 are based in the U.S. and 32 are in foreign countries. Most certifying agents are directly accredited by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). Twenty-one additional certifying agents are authorized through recognition agreements between the U.S. and foreign governments. Each of these certifying agents is authorized to issue an organic certificate to operations that comply with the USDA organic regulations. Here is a link to the USDA website listing certifying agencies.

Am I allowed to use “x” substance or product and still be considered Organic?

The USDA Organic Regulations outline which inputs and treatments may be used by farms that produce certified organic products.  All materials must be reviewed and approved by your organic certifier prior to use and then added to your Organic System Plan, because of this please contact your organic certifier to confirm the application of these materials prior to first use.  Additional resources include the USDA's National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, the OMRI List and the Washington State Department of Agriculture Organic Materials List.

How long does it take to transition to Organic?

Transitioning land takes 36 months from the date of the last application of a prohibited substance. Livestock may be transitioned in 12 months. Please bear in mind that establishing a relationship with a certifier is critical.

When will land be eligible for Organic Certification?

I haven't applied any prohibited substances during the last few years on a specific field (or area of land), when will that land be eligible for organic conversion?

  • 205.202(b) A three year conversion period is required to achieve full organic status.
  • No prohibited substances may be applied to the land for 36 months prior to the harvest of any product that will be sold, labeled or represented as certified organic.

Documentation

What documentation do I need to sufficiently verify the last date of prohibited substance application? (Or, what documentation do I need to prove that my land/livestock have been organically managed during the required transition periods).
205.103(b)(1)(2) The actual amount of documentation each individual producer needs to meet these requirements is not exact and depends on the complexity of the operation. The following list contains some of the common forms of documentation that organic crop and livestock producers must keep to ensure a complete audit trail and record system:

  • accurate maps with fields, paddocks
  • field History sheets including record of production practices, materials applied, dates of field operation, etc.
  • verification of the organic status of seeds
  • seed tags and/or packaging
  • labels from purchased fertilizers, pest control products, and other inputs
  • crop harvest log
  • verification of organic status for purchased animals
  • herd/Flock health records
  • label from medications
  • labels and receipts from purchased feeds

Adding land to an Organic System Plan

Could you briefly outline the process for adding land to an existing Organic System Plan?
Land that has been under someone else’s management for the past 36 months will need the previous manager of the land to document the following in addition to meeting the requirements for certified organic land (205.202 and 205.203):

  • the month(s) and year(s) in which the land was under his management
  • how the land was used during this period
  • the quantity of acres, the section number, township and county
  • maps including buffers 
  • a list of inputs and the dates that they were applied

If the land is already certified organic – a copy of the current organic certificate is required.

Feed During Transition

What kind of feed (specifically grains) can I feed to my livestock during their transition?

  • 205.236(a)(2)(i)(ii)(iii) During the 12 month transition for dairy cows, third year transition pasture (T-3) and field crops from a farmer’s own operation may be fed. However, absolutely no T-3 feed from another farm is allowed. Once the livestock has transitioned and is certified organic, T-3 feed is no longer allowed—only certified, organic crops may be fed.
  • Regarding T-2 (Second year transition crops) Feed: T-2 feed may not be fed to a transitioning herd.

What is the CROPP Cooperative business model?

In 1988, a group of Wisconsin farmers who shared a desire to save family farms and a belief in sustainable agriculture founded CROPP Cooperative and its brands, Organic Valley and Organic Prairie. Today, CROPP is America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and Organic Valley is one of the nation's leading organic brands.

CROPP Cooperative is an independent and farmer-owned cooperative, which means the farmers have a voice in the cooperative because they own it. The farmers—through the board of directors, elected by the farmers from the farmer membership—uphold sustainable farming practices such as pasturing animals and treating them humanely, ensuring CROPP farmers meet and often exceed USDA Organic requirements.

How can I be a member of the Co-op?

If you are looking to farm with us or have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our Farmer Hotline at 888-809-9297, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Central time or by e-mail at farmerhotline@organicvalley.coop. Also, you may click here to download more information on our New Member Requirements.  

What does it cost to be a member of CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley?

Being a member of CROPP Cooperative does require that a member meets the equity requirement equal to 5.5% of a farmers base annual income (Payment options are available.). Please click here to learn more about our equity program.

Where do you have farms?

CROPP represents over 2,000 organic farmers in 34 states, Canada and Australia. Here's a handy way to find Organic Valley farms near you: Who's Your Farmer

Farmer Food Order Program

Answers to these questions and more can be found on our Farmer Food Order page, right here.

What is a Farmer Food Order?

As an active or confirmed member of the cooperative, you may order Organic Valley and Organic Prairie products at a special discount. Orders can be shipped to you via UPS or picked up at the La Farge and Cashton Retail Stores.

How can I place a Food Order?

To place a food order, please contact the Farmer Hotline at 888-809-9297 - 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday-Friday or Mail: 

Organic Valley  
Attention: Membership Services
One Organic Way
La Farge, WI 54639

What is a shipping subsidy and how much do I receive?

Shipping subsidy is an allotted contribution to each active and confirmed farm family (per membership agreement) to assist with UPS shipping cost and packaging materials when ordering dairy or meat products from CROPP Cooperative.  How much you receive is dependent on your location. 

Why do some OV producers receive more or less subsidy than I do?

Subsidy amounts are dependent on your location.  Anyone who lives up to three days ground shipping from Wisconsin will receive $175.00.  Anyone who lives more than three days ground shipping from Wisconsin will receive $375.00 due to refrigerated product not being able to be in transit any longer than three days.  Those orders must ship via air which have much higher costs than ground shipping.  Please see Subsidy Q & A for more information. 

When will I receive my food?

If order is placed by noon on Wednesday you should expect your order to arrive the following week on Thursday.  If order is placed after noon on Wednesday it will be approximately two weeks before you will receive you order.

How do I pay for food that I order?

Dairy and Egg Pool members have their food orders deducted from their checks automatically unless requested otherwise.  Members from all other pools will be invoiced and sent a bill via U.S. Mail.  Please mail payment when you receive your invoice. Checks should be sent to the address on the invoice.  Please note, meat and dairy order payments are sent to separate addresses.  You can also pay by credit card.  Call the Farmer Hotline, (888) 809-9297, after you receive your invoice.  Farmer Hotline staff will take your credit card payments.

Donation Information 

Also, check out our Farmer Donation page, right here.

I hear that I’m able to request a donation up to $150 because I’m a farmer-owner.  Is that true? What are the parameters? 

Yes, OV-OP producers are eligible to use their $150.00 allotment for product and branded items for events within the communities that are open to the public. This allotment is available on a calendar year basis and includes the shipping of the items. Such events include; educational classroom/college presentations to ag students, member/partner pasture walks, field days, 4-H/FFA ag ed associations, breed associations, lectures given/hosted by member, dairy recognition banquets, organic/sustainable ag education, classroom education on agriculture, church dinners, charity fundraisers, Lions/Rotary Club events, historical society events. To learn more, click here.

If I already used my $150 donation, is there another type of donation I may request?

Yes, Organic Valley donates to many nonprofit organizations. Please see more information about the “Power of We” and/or Farmers in Marketing.