Meet Horizon farmer, Chuck Deichmann

Meet Horizon farmer, Chuck Deichmann, in this article by Farm Aid. His farm in Belmont, NY was the first organic farm in the nation to use a robotic milking system.

http://www.farmaid.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=qlI5IhNVJsE&b=2723875&ct=13340807&notoc=1

Horizon Organic® Announces Recipients of HOPE and National Quality Awards

Horizon Organic®  has announced the 2013 recipients of its two annual farmer awards. The Horizon Organic Producer Education (HOPE) Award is given out to those who advocate for organic agriculture, while the National Quality Award recognizes the Horizon farmer who produces the highest quality organic milk in the entire Horizon milk supply. This year both the HOPE Award and National Quality award winners are based in New York state where Horizon partners with more than 300 active and transitioning organic dairy farmers.

Chuck and Julia Deichmann of Belmont, N.Y. received the 2013 HOPE Award, and Jeffrey and Sharon Sheen of Gouverneur, N.Y. won the National Quality Award for the second time. The recipients were honored during the annual Farm Aid concert in Syracuse, N.Y. that took place on Sept. 21.

 
HOPE Award: Chuck and Julia Deichmann

Horizon Organic Farm producer Chuck Diechmann family of Willow Creek Farm in Belmont, New York

The Deichmann family, who has shipped milk to Horizon since 2000, received this year’s HOPE Award for their community involvement, ongoing support for farmers interested in transitioning to organic and their innovation in being the first organic dairy farm in the country to install robotic milkers. The family also helped establish the organic dairy farming community in western New York.

Throughout the year, the Deichmanns host field days, pasture walks and school tours of their 365-acre Willow Creek Farm to help educate families and other farmers about organic agriculture and sustainable practices. Chuck Deichmann has served as a valuable resource to countless farmers, both those interested in transitioning to organic and those interested in adding robotic milkers to their operation. The Deichmanns have nationally represented organic farming, including hosting Senator Hillary Clinton at their farm in 2005.

National Quality Award – Jeffrey and Sharon Sheen

Sheens_photocredit_Sheen Family

Jeffrey and Sharon Sheen are now two-time recipients of Horizon’s National Quality Award, winning this year and in 2011. The Sheens, who have been shipping to Horizon since 2004, milk 45 Holsteins on their 343-acre farm.
Sharon Sheen grew up on a dairy farm, but neither she nor Jeffrey had milked a cow before they decided to start their farm 18 years ago in Gouverneur, N.Y. with 30 cows. Jeffrey Sheen attributes much of their farm’s success to their transition to organic in 2004.

Horizon Announces Winners of the HOPE Scholarships

Horizon Organic® has announced the four recipients of the 2013 Horizon Organic Producer Education (HOPE) Scholarships that help encourage young people to enter the field of organic agriculture. The students, each of whom will receive $2,500, are children or grandchildren of Horizon’s more than 600 family farmers.

Horizon is the first national organic dairy brand to offer a scholarship program designed to build the next generation of organic leaders. The scholarship program began in 2007. American consumers are seeking out organic foods at an unprecedented rate, in part because of concerns about pesticide use, the effects of growth hormones, antibiotic resistance, and because they want to avoid genetically engineered foods.

This year’s four scholarship recipients are:

  • Callie Brodt (Ferndale, Calif.), 19, is the granddaughter of Horizon farmer Jim Walker of the Walker Dairy in Ferndale, Calif. Callie attends Chico State University, where she is majoring in Agriculture Business. “Growing up on an organic dairy and working throughout the dairy industry has given me many opportunities,” Brodt said. “I really think the organic dairy industry is promising for our future because of the natural practices it offers and the benefits to our land, animals and consumers.” This is Brodt’s second HOPE Scholarship. “Callie has extraordinary clarity of purpose and commitment for someone so young,” said HOPE Scholarship committee member, Robyn O’Brien, author of The Unhealthy TruthCallieBrodt

 

  • Mieke DeJong (Bonanza, Ore.), 21, is the daughter of Horizon farmers Arie and Jenneke DeJong, who run the Windy Ridge farm in Bonanza, Ore. This is DeJong’s third HOPE Scholarship, and she plans to graduate in spring 2014 from Oregon State University with a degree in Agricultural Business. DeJong says helping out on her family’s organic farm has been rewarding. “As I grew older, I gained a new perspective on what organic truly meant and have grown to love what it represents and how animals and farms should be treated,” DeJong said. “Knowing that organic foods are produced with care and love from families like ours, I am more than willing to support organic foods and encourage others to do so as well.” HOPE Scholarship committee member Glenda Yoder of Farm Aid said, “Mieke demonstrates a great awareness of the benefits and qualities of organic agriculture. She has qualities that could make her a business leader.”

 MiekeDeJong

 

  • Damen Jeg (Chehalis, Wash.), 19, is the son of Horizon farmer Heinz Jeg of Jeg and Sons Dairy in Chehalis, Wash. Damen Jeg, who is a first-time recipient of the HOPE Scholarship, plans to attend Washington State University to pursue a degree in Animal Science. “Living and working on an organic dairy farm has been a unique and advantageous opportunity,” Jeg said. “The organic option provides a niche market for those who want to consume and utilize a more wholesome and pure product in their lives.” Beyond family farming, he said organic agriculture also offers career opportunities in various fields, including agronomy, business, animal science and food science. “Damen is an accomplished and well-rounded young man who will represent organic well,” said HOPE Scholarship committee member Dr. Alan Greene. “The skills he’s learned will help him be a creative and problem-solving organic farmer.”

 DamenJeg

 

  • Sierra Knight (Lisbon, N.Y.), 19, is the daughter of Horizon farmer Bradley Knight of Knight’s Meadow View Farm in Lisbon, N.Y. Sierra Knight, now a two-time recipient of the HOPE Scholarship, is attending The State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam, where she is majoring in pre-veterinary with a minor in biology. She would like to become a veterinarian. “Healthcare for an organic farm is especially difficult to find because of the specific list of medications and procedures that a farmer is allowed to use,” Knight said. “The availability of a veterinarian who understands organic is also very important in the farmer’s goal in running and maintaining a productive farm.” HOPE Scholarship committee member Steve Gilman said, “Sierra is an incredible student and her pre-vet track is immensely important for organic agriculture.”

SierraKnight2013

The 2013 HOPE Scholarship recipients were chosen by a committee of organic industry leaders, including: Tracy Favre, National Organic Standards Board member and former chief operating officer, Holistic Management International (HMI); Steve Gilman, policy coordinator, Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Interstate Council; Alan Greene, MD, founder of DrGreene.com; Faye Jones, executive director, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); Robyn O’Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth and founder of AllergyKids; Bob Scowcroft, a long-standing organic advocate who has served in various leadership positions for 35 years; and Glenda Yoder, associate director, Farm Aid. 

 

The next generation of farmers is going organic

Nathan Bawden (now 16 years old) has been “working” on an organic dairy farm since he was a baby. Read about his family’s journey on their farm here:

http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/article/20130701/NEWS05/707019975

Do you Vermacompost?

Growing Gardens is one of WhiteWave’s valued non-profit partners and they offer some great classes for adults. Have you ever heard of Vermacomposting? 

Learn how to turn your kitchen scraps into gold for your garden in this interactive demonstration class taught by Master Gardener and Colorado Worm Man, John Anderson. John will convert, before your very eyes, a defunct refrigerator into a year-round vermicomposting system while teaching step-by-step instructions of how to construct your own at home.  Participants will learn the basics of vermicomposting, worm bin maintenance and harvesting techniques.

Location: Growing Gardens, 1630 Hawthorn Ave. in Boulder – Compost Area (just south of Children’s Peace Garden)
Saturday, July 13 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
$40

To register for this class click here

If you have questions, please contact Megan at (303) 443-9952 or Megan@growinggardens.org or visit http://www.growinggardens.org/.

Horizon Celebrates 15 Years in Maryland

Our Horizon Farm in Maryland started shipping organic milk in 1998 and is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. Read all about it in this recent article in the Kent County News

http://www.myeasternshoremd.com/news/kent_county/article_3ead739c-e7d3-11e2-8e04-001a4bcf887a.html

Protecting Valuable Land in our Backyard

WhiteWave Foods has been a longtime supporter of helping people understand what’s in their food and where it comes from. We are committed to sustainable agriculture, continued learning and reducing our impact on the environment, and are therefore strong supporters of our local Boulder partner, Growing Gardens, and its mission to enrich the lives of our community through sustainable urban agriculture.

Growing Gardens raises awareness and provides opportunities for people to participate in urban agricultural programs. They unite the Boulder County community through urban agricultural projects such as: The Cultiva Youth Project, The Children’s Peace Garden, Horticultural Therapy, Fresh Food Families & Fitness, and The Community Gardens.

Protecting open space, promoting organic growing practices, and providing new learning experiences for kids and adults is core to the City of Boulder. And, it’s what Growing Gardens has contributed to since it was founded. WhiteWave Foods supports the impressive efforts of Growing Gardens, and we support Boulder City Council in placing a conservation easement on the Long’s Gardens property that is in our backyard. The conservation easement would protect the last 25 acres of working community farmland in the Boulder city limits.

Help us protect this land so it can continue to serve as a community-based resource for agricultural education. To make your opinion heard in this matter, you may contact the Boulder City Council before Tuesday, June 18 at council@bouldercolorado.gov. If you are local to Boulder, you are invited to make your voice heard by attending the June 18th  City Council meeting at the Municipal Building located at 1777 Broadway in Boulder CO.

 

Family Farmers

Check out this great article featuring Horizon Organic producer, Marilyn Gardner, from Pownal, Vermont and learn how she has managed the challenges of combining motherhood and farming.

http://www.benningtonbanner.com/news/ci_23219969/motherhood-vermont-farm-style

There’s a reason our Horizon mascot is named Happy!

At Horizon Organic, we were happy to see several of the benefits of organic milk highlighted in a recent Health.com article about the different types of milk available to consumers today.

Specifically, the article noted that, compared to its non-organic counterpart, organic milk can contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and conjugated linoleic acid. The article also pointed out that organic milk comes from cows that eat feed grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

While we certainly appreciated the article sharing many of the benefits of organic milk, we noticed that it didn’t mention the environmental benefits of organic farming, which, we believe, are worth talking about and celebrating.

Organic farming has many proven environmental advantages, and is a big reason why many of us choose to purchase organic food and beverages. Some of these benefits include farming without the use of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers and other pollutants, as well as encouraging sustainable farming practices that contribute to the health of the land. At Horizon Organic these farming practices were responsible for removing 20 million pounds of synthetic pesticides from the environment in 2011 alone.

What’s more, choosing organic milk means choosing to support a better environment for the dairy cows that produce it. Organic farmers nurture their animals with attentive daily care, clean living conditions and a wholesome organic diet including pasture grazing for at least a third of the year. Just like people, cows thrive in a low-stress environment, so organic farms also allow plenty of access to the outdoors for exercise.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we produce our Horizon Organic products, we encourage you to check out our website. And, the next time you’re standing in front of the dairy case and see Happy looking back at you on your favorite carton of Horizon Organic milk, you can feel good knowing that choosing organic means happy cows, happy people, and a happy planet.

Horizon Organic Farmer’s Daughter Proudly Represents Next Generation of Organic Agriculture

This blog post is contributed by Ashlie Hardy, 18, whose parents are Horizon Organic family farmers Henry and Teresa Hardy. Ashlie was recently chosen as one of this year’s four recipients of the HOPE (Horizon Organic Producer Education) Scholarship, which was established by Horizon to encourage young people to enter the field of organic agriculture. As a recipient, she received $2,500 to use toward her college education. The Hardy family also received the HOPE Award last year, which is given out annually to farmers who advocate for organic agriculture.

As the daughter of a Horizon Organic dairy producer, I’ve helped my family on the farm since I was very little and couldn’t imagine growing up any other way. Now that I’ve graduated from Mount Blue High School in Farmington, Maine, I’m looking forward to utilizing my HOPE Scholarship to further my education. In the fall, I’ll attend MacDonald College’s Agricultural and Environmental Sciences program at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. I plan to major in Farm Management and Technology with a dairy focus so that I can hopefully continue to do what I do best – working hands-on to raise and show organic cows and calves. As a result of my education, I also want to be able to teach people about the benefits of organic farming, especially since the public is increasingly interested in knowing where their food comes from and how it’s grown or produced.

In fact, earlier this year I got to share my organic farming experiences and perspectives during the Organic Trade Association’s “Policy Hill Days” in Washington, DC, which I attended in April with my dad and other representatives from Horizon. I spoke in front of industry leaders and elected officials who work to positively influence organic legislation. It was an amazing experience, and I was privileged to represent my family farm and the next generation of organic farmers.

My interest in farming stems from my family roots. My dad Henry was born and raised on our farm, and he’s actively managed it since he was just a teenager himself. He met my mother Teresa while showing cows at 4-H fairs in Maine and after graduation, they married and started running the farm together. My sister-in-law Ashley also helps out part-time on the farm. We started shipping to Horizon in 2003 and have been proud organic producers ever since.

When I’m at college this fall, I’ll miss the farm, as well as my involvement with my high school’s FFA chapter and 4-H. FFAis an organization dedicated to helping prepare the next generation of leaders in agriculture. Focused on middle and high school students, it enables today’s youth to get to learn about the various facets of agriculture – not just how to raise and take care of cows, but also how to economically run a farm, repair equipment and tell which crops are best given your geography and weather, as well as helping out with the business aspects, by teaching communication and presentation skills.

My family and I helped start the local FFA chapter in Farmington so that we could give students and others not involved in agriculture a chance to understand and learn about what we do. This has included teaching people about the benefits of organic agriculture, helping them understand why we chose to transition our farm to organic, and why people should choose organic food.

In addition, I regularly compete at the local, state and national level of FFA, and have won a variety of awards over the years, including a gold in the dairy cattle evaluation and a gold in extemporaneous speaking, which I won last May at the state competition. And last October, I received a bronze in extemporaneous speaking at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. I also won the supreme showman at the New England level for 4-H at the Eastern States Exposition, last September, recognizing how well I trained and presented my show calf. This was a prestigious honor and one that I’m particularly proud of. And lastly, I served on the National 4-H Conference’s Operations Team, helping plan and execute a conference for over 500+ 4-Hers.

For anyone else interested in organic agriculture, my advice is simple: Pursue it. Ask questions. Start small as soon as you get curious, and as your interest grows, let your involvement grow. The organic community is made up of really nice people that want to help others, their animals and the environment.