Transitioning a conventional dairy farm to become an organic dairy farm is quite a journey. The cows must be raised without the use of toxic synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, added growth hormones, cloning, genetically modified animals, or genetically modified feed. The cows must be allowed to graze on pasture throughout the growing season, and the pasture itself must be certified organic. The farmers’ costs go up for years before they can start selling certified organic milk.
Each year at Farm Aid, Horizon Organic presents the HOPE award to one of their more than 500 family farms that has successfully navigated the transition to organic, with farmers that have demonstrated notable strength of character, hard work, and resiliency, all of which are required to own and operate a family-run organic dairy farm.
This year the HOPE award went to Hans and Lynn Kroll. Hans and Lynn live in Long Prairie, Minnesota on a 380-acre farm that has been in continuous production for over 100 years. They have 35 organic cows. Hans is the 5th generation in his family to own and work this land. Because of their successful transition to organic, the farm is once again thriving, and their daughter and her family have moved back to the farm to work, becoming the 6th generation on the land.
How inspiring! See the Kroll’s and 4 of their children for 80 seconds above.