Organic Valley Farmers: Heroes in the Fields

Here’s a look at the passionate farmers behind the Organic Valley brand.

| February/March 2006

  • By the late 1990s, Frantzen had moved to an entirely organic hog operation.
  • In 1999, Travis and Amy Forgues joined Organic Valley — becoming one of the first Vermont farms in the co-op.
  • “Something in me said, ‘This is it, this is the right thing to do,’” Harry Lewis says about becoming part of the Organic Valley family. By 2005, Harry’s herd and land were certified organic.

Tom Frantzen, New Hampton, Iowa

Tom Frantzen’s main motivation to go organic was quality of life — for both the humans and animals involved.

He already had started rotating crops and reducing pesticide use on his 335-acre cattle and hog farm. “It wasn’t a big jump for me at all,” Frantzen says. “It was a business plan that supported the quality of life we were looking to achieve on the farm.”

By the late 1990s, Frantzen had moved to an entirely organic hog operation. He was instrumental in helping to launch Organic Valley’s Organic Prairie brand, and he remains a key supplier of pork to the cooperative.

“If you take the life of an average confinement hog, he’s seen little else but stainless steel and concrete walls,” Frantzen says. “My pigs, they’re born in the summer, outside. Later, they are in a hoop building with fresh air, sunshine and fresh bedding every two or three days.”

Travis and Amy Forgues, Alburg Springs, Vermont


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