For more than two decades, we have produced organic milk. In the early 1990s we devoted a pen at our Platteville Dairy to organic and began producing organic milk for the new start-up brands in the organic dairy industry. In 2003, we committed exclusively to organic. Since then, our passion and commitment to organic has fueled the growth in our operations as we have helped to expand the overall market for high-quality organic dairy products.
The USDA National Organic Program requires that producers and manufacturers achieve a rigorous set of standards for agricultural crops, livestock management and food processing. Our commitment to organic is unwavering, and we continually meet the rigorous criteria of the USDA organic regulations.
Because organic cows cannot receive antibiotics to prevent or treat disease, we have a comprehensive animal health and wellness program that focuses on disease prevention. It includes high standards of sanitation at our facilities, quality organic feed and bedding, organic-approved vaccines, activity collars that help to identify when a cow is sick, and employees who are trained to recognize when a cow needs attention. We evaluate our cows daily for health indicators, and our nutritionist modifies feed rations for each group of cows based on needs.
Our cows graze on organic certified pasture. Consistent with the organic regulations, our cows receive at least 30% of their dry matter intake from pasture during the grazing season, which cannot be less than 120 days.
Our suppliers are required to meet our standards for organic excellence, and we are proud to support more than 100 independent farmers who farm more than 75,000 total organic crop acres used to grow organic feed for our dairy cows. For more information about our unwavering commitment to organic, please visit our 2017 Corporate Citizenship Report.