WORKING COWS BECOMES STATE'S FIRST ORGANIC DAIRY
SLOCOMB, Ala. -- Working Cows Dairy of Slocomb will become Alabama's first certified organic dairy operation Sunday.
|The de Jongs: Jan, Rinske, Mendy, Ike and Jonny.|
The certification marks the completion of a lengthy process began in July 2006 after owners Jan and Rinske de Jong had become frustrated with rollercoaster milk prices. "The 2006 milk price was the same as in 1976," the de Jongs say on their dairy's Web site. "Going organic will give us a more level milk price."
To achieve certification, the de Jongs' fields could not be sprayed with chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or commercial fertilizer, and its cows had to be fed organic feed only and treated with organic "medicine."
"We want to congratulate the de Jongs on becoming the first organic dairy in Alabama," said Guy Hall, director of the Alabama Farmers Federation's Dairy Division. "The organic certification program is a difficult program that can take years. They have worked hard for this, and should be commended."
The de Jongs came to the United States from Holland in 1985 with a dream of starting a dairy of their own. According to their dairy's Web site, they started by milking 180 cows for a dairy farmer in Florida in exchange for use of his barn and 40 acres of pasture. They then leased 55 cows with $5,000 they had saved in Holland, and began milking about 20 hours a day. By 1988, they had 29 cows of their own; four years later, 220 cows. They now have 600 cows that are milked twice a day.
The de Jongs' have signed a contract with Horizon Organic, one of the nation's leading organic milk suppliers.
For more information, visit WorkingCowsDairy.com.