Wisconsin ranks No. 2 in organic farms in US

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- New federal stats show Wisconsin had 1,180 organic farms in 2012, more than any other state except California.

Nearly one in five was in Vernon County, home of Organic Valley, the nation's top seller of organic milk.

Organic Valley CEO George Siemon says the cooperative started in the late 1980s when tobacco farmers in western Wisconsin were looking for a new crop.

The company now employs 1,800 farms nationwide and 750 non-farm workers.

Siemon says its success has led to others' success. Vernon County is also home to Harmony Valley Farm, and another major farm, Driftless Organics, is in neighboring Crawford County.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.