New UnOrganic Dairy Farm Opening! Aurora Dairy

Aurora Dairy Plans to Open Factory Housing 7,000 “Organic” HeifersThis image of Aurora Dairy in Stratford, Texas, from Cornucopia’s Flyover Galleries, vividly shows how Aurora “pastures” their dairy cows. How will their heifer factory in Colorado’s High Plains be different?As consumers call for improved animal welfare, stewardship of the soil, and conservation of dwindling water supplies, Aurora Organic Dairy is preparing to open a heifer factory on 1,900 acres in the dry High Plains of Colorado. The feedlot will house 7,000 “organic” heifers when fully operational. If Phillips County approves the proposal on August 19, Aurora’s planned heifer facility will be an industrial cow factory that ignores the intent of the organic law and requires an enormous amount of water in an arid region.

“Aurora’s new feedlot will have impacts on sensitive aquifers and other groundwater,” says The Cornucopia Institute’s director of domestic policy, Marie Burcham, JD. “The harming of the environment and local communities is the antithesis of what the organic label represents.”

Cornucopia has exposed the most notorious industrial “organic” dairies and their practices over the last 15 years. These actions include several legal complaints about Aurora Dairy, accusing the industrial operation of violating organic regulations that require grazing and prohibit the cycling of conventional livestock in and out of the organic program.

Aurora’s enormous factory farms in Colorado and Texas have remained certified despite successive complaints and evidence of repeated wrongdoing. Authentic organic dairy farmers, who raise calves born on-farm to replace or grow their milking herd and offer legitimate grazing pastures, continue to suffer on an unlevel playing field.

Watch for our action alert in the near future.The Search for the Most Ethical Burger(Image source: AdobeStock)If a trip to the store to buy beef leaves you bewildered, you are not alone. Understanding the nuanced differences among the various products available in the marketplace requires a fair amount of homework and a healthy dose of scrutiny.A sometimes dizzying array of labels adorn beef packages — grass-fed, 100% grass-fed, imported, organic, and regenerative — each representing different farm management practices and their accompanying impacts on the planet and human health. These labels belie the complete story of beef production.What’s more, unclear and sometimes downright misleading marketing tactics by industrial producers confuse consumers and shortchange farmers who responsibly produce the most nutritious beef using superior animal welfare practices.Keep an eye out for Cornucopia’s forthcoming report covering the complex landscape of organic beef production and the accompanying scorecard rating domestic organic beef brands available at retail. This research will empower consumers and wholesale buyers to invest their food dollars in the most ethical organic beef production available.READ MOREInto the Woods—Where Poultry Thrive(Image source: AdobeStock)With the huge push for pastured poultry in today’s marketplace, grassy expanses marked by mobile chicken housing are an easy sell. But there’s another scenario that deserves consumers’ attention.

Silvopasture paints a different picture, where chickens or turkeys scratch and socialize in a diverse understory that typically offers more foraging opportunities than grassy pasture. Producers that embrace this production method intentionally combine trees, forage plants, and livestock in integrated, intensively managed systems that offer a mutually beneficial network with wide-ranging benefits.

Chickens and other types of poultry often thrive in these environments, in part because the earliest poultry lived in woodlands and forests. Bird welfare is enhanced by an environment that supports their instinctive drives. And, because silvopasture systems can be more diverse and resilient, farmers are better insulated from risk.

Raising poultry under trees offers benefits that transcend the commonly understood advantages of pasture raised. To learn more about organic poultry and where to find it, read For the Birds: How to Recognize Authentic Organic Chicken and Turkey and check out Cornucopia’s Organic Poultry Scorecard.*

*Cornucopia has also produced a Do-It-Yourself Guide to purchasing high-quality poultry in areas where consumers may not have access to authentic certified organic brands.READ MORE
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