We believe it is our duty to give back to the communities in which we operate. One way we do this is through our support of local suppliers and independent farmers. The 100+ independent farmers in our network are an extension of AOD. They grow certified organic grain, alfalfa hay and corn silage for our animals, produce organic milk to meet our retail customers’ orders, provide animal husbandry expertise and custom farming services. We support farmers as they transition to organic to ensure an ongoing supply of local organic feedstuffs.
Our community support programs focus on hunger relief, local schools, and education in agriculture and dairy sciences to support the future leaders of our industry. We actively donate organic milk and butter to community organizations and, in 2016 donated 54,650 gallons of organic milk and 26,260 pounds of organic butter, which equals an approximate retail value of $418,220.
We also donated more than $125,000 in scholarships and cash to nonprofit organizations throughout the year. Our scholarship programs include: Future Farmers of America high school scholarships, Colorado State University organic agriculture scholarships, and scholarships for family members of our employees who pursue education beyond high school. We also provide cattle, milk and monetary donations to local 4-H programs.
We host tours of our facilities, and our employees often lend their expertise by speaking at local community organizations and youth agricultural programs to educate our communities about organic dairy production. Additionally, our employees receive free organic milk each pay day, and we provide free organic milk to more than 40 neighboring homes that surround our organic dairy farms.