Being 100% dedicated to organic dairy production, our farms cannot rely on antibiotics and many other medicines used in the conventional dairy industry to treat disease. As long-time organic dairy farmers, we have developed comprehensive animal care programs for our farms, which include high standards of cleanliness and rigorous employee training programs to focus on disease prevention and optimum animal comfort. In the absence of synthetic inputs, a strong animal care program is critical in organic dairy production.
Aurora Organic Dairy cows live in the temperate climates of Colorado and Texas. The typical mild, dry weather patterns allow our cows to be routinely outside in the fresh air and sunshine, and they are outdoors virtually every day, not just during the grazing season. During the grazing season, our dairy cows receive at least 30% of their dry matter intake from organic certified pasture during the grazing season, which cannot be less than 120 days. Our animals are taken to and from pastures across our system, given shelter from excessive heat, frequently grazed at night, and provided supplemental organic silage, hay and grains to provide optimal nourishment. We do this because it supports the health of our cows.
We have designed our farms and facilities to put animal care at the forefront of our operations. Our farms feature open housing and free-stall barns, allowing cows to come and go as they please. We believe animals should be allowed to exhibit their natural behaviors, whether they are grazing on organic pasture or resting in their housing facilities.
Our dedicated Animal Husbandry Caregivers constantly monitor our cows and manage the smallest details of their health, and our Validus animal care certification provides valuable third-party input on all aspects of animal care and welfare. We host internships for veterinary and animal science students from around the world, and have close research relationships with leading agriculture and veterinary schools who want to learn more about organic dairy production. For a comprehensive discussion of our animal care policies and procedures, please refer to our 2017 Corporate Citizenship Report.