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Organic Valley Sees Back-to-Back Years of Financial Loss
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 04/16/2019

It appears that the struggling dairy industry is also having a negative impact on the organic sector. The Wisconsin-based Organic Valley Cooperative announced it has posted its second-ever financial balance sheet for fiscal year 2018. Company officials say a surplus of dairy products and falling milk prices are to blame for two consecutive years of negative profits, in which the co-op reported a loss of about $12.6 million.

During the group's annual meeting, interim CEO Bob Kirchoff reported gross sales of more than $1.1 billion during the past year. That was one percent more than the previous year, but still short of the company's total expenses.

The co-op paid its dairy patrons an average of $29.74 per hundredweight for their milk in 2018, which is about double the price conventional producers received from their processors. Kirchoff says that price may have to go down in order to keep the company from losing too much money.

Organic Valley, which is located in La Farge, is the nation's top organic food supplier of grass-fed dairy and meat products. The group also has a new cheese plant in Cashton and another facility in McMinnville, Oregon. As of this past year, they had over 2,000 farmer-members that farm about a half-million organic acres in 35 states and Canada.

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