I wrote to the company that makes the yogurt we enjoy, Nancy's Yogurt made by Springfield Creamery in Eugene Oregon, and below is their response:
Thank you for your interest in Nancy’s Products. We frequently are asked about farm practices at the dairies that supply us milk for Nancy’s Cultured Dairy Products. There are many variables involved in dairy farming so we may not be able to provide exact answers, but we are in frequent contact with representatives from the dairy coops that provide us milk, in order to provide the following information:
- We purchase our milk from 2 dairy cooperatives: conventional milk from Northwest Dairyman’s Association (NDA) and organic milk from Organic Valley Family Farms. The milk comes to us directly from the farms, all farms within about 100 miles of our plant, all family owned, with average herd size of 150 head. None are “factory farms.”
- The use of Bovine Growth Hormones (rBGH, also referred to as rBST) is prohibited in organic dairies. NDA, who supplies our conventional milk, has a strict policy of segregation of milk from treated cows and untreated cows. All farmers are required to sign affidavits indicating their adherence to this policy. NDA and Springfield Creamery pay a higher premium to the farmers to produce milk that is rBGH free. We only use rBGH free milk.
- There are many variables that affect feed and pasturing practices. They are farm size, weather, season, management style as well as stewardship of the land.
- All cows are fed a mixture of forages and grains. Forages include grass, hay, silage and other field greens. Corn, barley, soybeans, oats, field peas and flax are grains. Conventional farms average a ratio of 60/40 forage to grains. Organic farms average 80/20 forage to grains. None of the grains are imported from outside of the USA at this time.
- Access to pasture varies by farm. Organic Valley encourages and sets standards for amount of pasturing(view at www.organicvalley.coop)
- Generally, the smaller the farm the more access to pasture. Access to pasture also varies by season and weather. In order to protect the pasture, cows are allowed to pasture only during the grass growing season, which is about 8 months in Oregon.
- Pastures take careful management to limit damage by trampling. Organic Valley’s standard is 3 head per acre. Cows are moved from section to section of the pasture to allow recovery of the grass.
- Conventional Farms with large herds may or may not pasture, partially because of the logistics of rounding up the cows for milking, however cows are able to move around in the “loafing” area. No cows are confined to a stall, other than during milking.
- All farms provide a humane and healthy environment for their herds in order to produce the fine quality milk we purchase. We have always had the utmost confidence in the quality of milk we receive- for 50 years!Kind regards,
Elaine KeseySpringfield Creamery, Inc.Nancy's Cultured Dairy and Soy541-689-2911