When you think of an organic dairy farm, do you think of a small or large farm? Do you think 150 head or less, or 1,000-plus head? I always thought of a small farm with fewer than 150 head of cows. Here recently, I discovered this was not true. Aurora Dairy supplies a lot of the organic milk products we see at the store.
Aurora Dairy started in Colorado and expanded into Texas. In the early 2000s, they became a bottling company along with their farms. I mentioned how they supply the majority of the milk we see in stores. In fact, they supply Wal-Mart, Target and Costco, among others. This information, quite frankly, shocked me. I had always thought of organic products as being produced by family farms.
Doing further research, I found Aurora Dairy actually had a class action lawsuit filed against them by a coalition of family farms. As a result of this legal action, in Sept. 2012, Aurora Dairy had to pay $7,500,000 over deceptive trade practices. This being said, I think it is important not to hate on other agriculturists and I want to highlight some of the good Aurora Dairy has done.
For starters, 95% of their feed is sourced here in the United States and they have been certified organic for the past 17 years on all of their farms. In addition, they have committed to 100% carbon-neutral energy, meaning they have no net greenhouse gas emissions. Keeping with the environment, they have been recognized for excellence in sustainability reporting by Corporate Register Reporting Awards. In 2019, they even opened a milk plant in Columbia, which created 100 new jobs in the area.
While shocking to discover mainstream organic dairy was not small farms, Aurora Dairy has taken various actions to help the environment, provided sustainability reports and even helped create jobs here in our home state. All this being said, I want consumers to know why researching companies before purchasing products from them is so important, this is just one example.
Schiereck is the El Dorado Springs FFA chapter president.