Organic Valley celebrated next generation farmers by awarding three of its young farmer-owners withGeneration Organic (Gen-O) awards.


Organic Valley, La Farge, Wis., celebrated next generation farmers by awarding three of its young farmer-owners withGeneration Organic (Gen-O) awards. Gen-O represents Organic Valley’s farmers aged 16-35-the future faces of organic agriculture-who demonstrate a commitment to sustainable agriculture and believe in the power of organic to change the world.

The Gen-O awards began in 2008 to acknowledge young individuals’ dedication to organic food and farming, the family farm and rural community through stewardship and innovation that fosters the development of the organic movement’s next generation of leaders.  

“It’s inspirational to be part ofGeneration Organicand join other young farmers,” says Casey Knapp, a member of Generation Organic in upstate New York. “Our reasons and stories are diverse, but we all believe in the power of organic to change the world.”  

The Gen-O awards were presented at the cooperative’s annual meeting award banquet on March 30 in La Crosse, Wis. Approximately 30Generation Organicmembers from Vermont to Oregon attended the annual meeting to honor the winners and engage with hundreds of other farmer-owners to discuss the cooperative’s direction for 2012.

The three 2012 Gen-O award winners are:

Adam Holter, Frederick County, Maryland (East):
Holter of Holterholm Farms in Frederick County, Md., is a sixth-generation farmer on his family’s 207-acre farm. After studying business at Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, W.V., Holter and his fiancé returned to the farm, anticipating raising a seventh generation in the same house that his great grandfather lived in during the 1820s. Currently 100% grass-fed, the Holters look toward increasing their grass-fed beef and pastured pork production. Since experiencing the benefits of transitioning from conventional to organic first-hand, Holter believes in small, organic, family farms working closely with community to ensure a sustainable food system. Holter participated in the Generation Organic “Who’s Your Farmer?” 2011 Tour through the Pacific Northwest and California.  

Laura Boere, Stanislaus County, California (West):
Boere farms with her father and brother in Stanislaus County, Calif., on 500 acres of land known as John Boere Dairy, which transitioned to organic in 1999. Their dairy farm’s herd of Holstein, Ayrshire and cross-bred cows can graze nearly year-round due to the clay content in the soil, allowing green pastures throughout all four seasons in California. She is committed to following an organic farming career path on her family’s farm, and is hopeful about the future of organic farming in California. Boere participated in the Generation Organic “Who’s Your Farmer?” 2010 Tour in the Northeast and the 2011 tour in the Pacific Northwest and California.

Jared Luhman, Goodhue County, Minnesota (Central):
Luhman plans to one day take over his family’s farm, Jon Luhman Organic Crops. Starting in the fall of 2012, he will attend the University of Minnesota for a degree in agriculture education, while maintaining his leadership positions in Future Farmers of America. On weekends and summers, Luhman will continue to work closely with his father and grandfather stewarding the land where they raise grass-fed, red Angus beef, as well as corn, beans, wheat and hay for Organic Valley’s grower pool.

Go to www.organicvalley.coop to learn more about the Generation Organic “Who’s Your Farmer?” 2012 Tour.