Produce Pool: Requirements

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Farm Requirements

Organic Valley began as an organic produce cooperative. We maintain a vibrant and growing pool of organic produce farmers throughout the Midwest and South.

Our organic produce is marketed under the Organic Valley brand in retail stores across the country. The market for our high-quality produce is expanding and we continue to seek additional farmer-owners to fill the demand. is a good source of information about our cooperative. We also have a packet of information for interested organic farmers available by mail.
To learn more, call our Farmer Hotline: 1-888-809-9297 or (608) 625-2602,
8 a.m. - 5p.m. Central Time,  Monday - Friday.

Membership and Production Requirements

  • Members must be Certified Organic by a USDA-recognized certifying agency.

  • Members are responsible for providing a third-party audit certificate equal to or above the USDA Harmonized GAP standard.

  • New members must have previous experience in growing and marketing the crop.

  • Members must use CROPP's preferred seed varieties or consult the Pool Coordinator to find appropriate substitutes.

  • Members must meet sign-up production minimums, and have appropriate labor and equipment to successfully fill their sign-up production level.  

  • Producers within driving distance of our main distribution warehouse in Cashton, Wisconsin may deliver directly to us.

  • Members outside Southwest Wisconsin must have a loading facility that can accommodate a full-sized semi trailer.

  • Members outside Southwest Wisconsin must have ice machines and coolers for more perishable product.

  • Members outside Southwest Wisconsin must have access to telephone or e-mail.

  • All squash and onion producers must have heated, insulated storage for one half of their sign-up production level.

  • Members must regularly communicate the progress of their crops with the CROPP Produce Pool Coordinator. Harvest dates and estimated delivery volumes must be updated weekly. Two-weeks notice must be given before harvest.  

  • Members must follow post-harvest, packing, and storage standards for appearance, freshness and handling. CROPP has the right to refuse produce judged unacceptable by these standards, or for lack of communication prior to shipment.

  • Members will transport produce to the CROPP facility in Cashton, Wisconsin, or contract and pay for pick-up from the farm by the CROPP produce truck. For growers outside Southwest Wisconsin, CROPP can assist with arranging trucking to our warehouse or direct shipping to customers. The produce coordinator will determine how best to serve these members on a case-by-case basis.

  • Farmers are responsible for the cost of Organic Valley-branded packaging for produce marketed through CROPP. CROPP designs, purchases, stores and distributes packaging at cost as a service to members.

  • Members authorize CROPP to determine pay prices and commissions according to our pricing system. Our farmer-member Produce Executive Committee helps set target farmer pay prices for each commodity. Pay price may fluctuate with market.

  • Members must make an equity investment in CROPP. The current equity requirement is a minimum $550.00 or 5.5% of yearly gross sales. The equity amount is deducted from a new member's crop payments. Equity investments earn a 4-8% annual dividend.

  • The Cooperative cannot guarantee results or profit.  Members agree to release the Cooperative and its employees from any and all liability for damages that occur as a result of the cooperative's advice or requirements regarding production.  

CROPP Commitments and Services

  • CROPP commits to serving the needs of Produce Pool members to the best of its ability and in the spirit of cooperation.

  • CROPP provides a central warehouse, refrigerated storage, marketing and distribution for organic produce grown by its members.

  • CROPP performs financial accounting for all transactions between members and CROPP and ensures members regular, bi-weekly payment.

  • CROPP supports members dealing with individual organic certification issues and keeps members current on changes in USDA rules and policies.

  • CROPP aims for the highest overall price for produce, and keeps expenses as low as possible.

  • CROPP recommends specific seed varieties and sources for seeds, plants and certified organic amendments, makes production recommendations, and monitors quality standards among members.

  • CROPP provides members with a monthly Produce Newsletter, and notification of events, meetings and important policy decisions.

  • CROPP provides a copy of CROPP bylaws, pool policies and crop production and quality standards to all members.

  • The elected Produce Executive Committee acts as an advisory body to the CROPP Produce Pool management and staff.

To learn more, call the Farmer Hotline at 1-888-809-9297.

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