Clo Says No to GMOs
Last fall, Clover Sonoma, Sonoma County’s third-generation family-owned and -operated dairy, announced that it would begin converting all of its conventional milk products to Non-GMO Project Verified over the next two years. By definition, all certified-organic dairy must be GMO free, but Clover’s move was groundbreaking in the conventional milk market.
“We’ve always taken an innovative approach to elevating dairy through driving industry progress, building trust with consumers, and setting our own high standards,” said Clover President & CEO Marcus Benedetti. “Our focus on non-GMO reaffirms our commitment to invest in the future of our dairy cows, family farms and communities. Our hope is to lead the way by creating an industry-wide movement towards more non-GMO feed options for our dairy cows. We look forward to working closely with our dairy partners to make this goal a reality.”
Of course, making these changes at the farm level is easier said than done, which is why the complete conversion could take up to two years. The primary reason for this is that non-GMO feed is currently not easy, and certainly not inexpensive, to source. If you build it, they will come, is the market-based hope.
According to Clover, the number of dairy farms in the North Bay declined from 135 in 1996 to 83 in 2016. Providing local farmers with a market for premium-priced organic and, now, conventional non-GMO dairy, allows the remaining farms to continue to be or to become sustainable, and thrive for multiple generations.
The total global market for non-GMO products is predicted to almost double between 2014 and 2019 (Packaged Facts forecasts, 2015). According to Consumer Reports, 72% of Americans say that it is important to avoid GMOs when they shop.
Clover’s first non-GMO conventional milk products will arrive on grocery shelves this spring. Get those cookies ready!