Farmers are often victims of forces beyond their control. For example, too much rain can oversaturate the fields and cause crops to rot. On the other extreme, too many days of sun can burn crops before the harvest. Either way, the farmer’s livelihood falls victim to climate conditions over which they have no control.
By 2019, however, the United States’ largest organic farming cooperative, will harvest the output of the sun and wind to power its operations with 100% renewable energy.
Organic Valley, started in 1988 as an alternative to Big Agriculture, has committed to adding 29 MW of solar to Wisconsin’s electricity-production system through a partnership with Upper Midwest Municipal Energy Group (UMMEG) and OneEnergy Renewables.
When completed, the installations will increase the installed solar capacity in Wisconsin as much as 72%, from 40.4 MW at the end of 2016 (according to the Solar Energy Industries Association) to 69.4 MW.
“Our future demands bold new thinking about our sources of energy, and there is nothing more natural to a farmer than harnessing the power of the sun and the wind,” said George Siemon, CEO and a founding farmer of Organic Valley. “So our cooperative is committed to achieving 100 percent renewable power, and doing it in partnership with the rural communities where we live and work.”
Organic Valley also supported the construction of the Cashton Greens Wind Farm in 2012, a 5 MW community wind farm near its headquarters