To achieve our mission of bringing organic milk to mainstream America, Aurora Organic Dairy was established as an integrated company that produces and processes our milk in our own company-owned facilities. We own and manage many of our assets – from crops to cows to cartons. This not only allows us to focus on efficiencies, but also to ensure the highest quality and product traceability throughout the entire supply chain. We are proud of this model, and believe it is central to producing the highest quality organic dairy products.
Our integrated organic dairy model starts with certified organic feed crops. In total, the feed ration requirement of our cows supports more than 84,000 organic acres used for grazing and harvesting crops. Of this, approximately 70,000 acres are operated by more than 120 independent farmers, and more than 14,000 organic pasture and crop acres are operated by our Company. In addition, we currently manage approximately 15,000 acres of land used for facilities and farmland we are actively transitioning to organic.
The milk production stage includes seven organic dairy farms. We milk the cows two or three times each day and they produce high-quality raw milk, nearly all of which is shipped directly to our Platteville milk plant. For products other than white fluid milk, we ship the milk or cream to third-party facilities for processing.
We manage a complex system of logistics and utilization to ensure the milk is shipped from farm to plant, and quickly processed to maximize freshness and quality. The milk processing stage of our business starts when the raw milk is unloaded into silos at our milk plant. The milk is processed, pasteurized then homogenized into the different fat content and packaging requirements of each retail customer. This stage also involves the comprehensive quality and food safety testing that is completed by our on-site quality lab. Learn more about our high quality standards by visiting our 2015 Corporate Citizenship Report.