Our proposition ‘. . . at the heart of innovative dairying’
We believe this is one of the main characteristics that differentiates us. We’re proud of the many ways in which we’ve helped our members and customers take the lead in global organic dairying.
Leading the way in the USA
Omsco entered the USA in 2013 in partnership with Organic Valley, the leading global organic dairy co-operative, selling Organic Kingdom, the first European USDA-certified organic cheese. In turn, this has led to the successful marketing of many other premium dairy products.
USDA organic certification, (as set out in the US-EU Organic Equivalency Arrangement), was the result of Omsco farmers developing new regimes around breeding, feed, veterinary practices and herd management, and with a particular focus on antibiotic-free milk production.
Beyond developing new on-farm standards, Omsco also identified the optimum distribution and partnership arrangements as well as product offering, for successful market entry.
Transforming British organic cheese and whey supply
The British Organic Dairy Company is a partnership with Wyke Farms and has solved one of the organic cheese market’s key barriers to growth – the provision of a sufficient scale all-year round supply of organic milk, enabling the efficient production of consistently high quality cheese.
The partnership produces organic cheese for local and international markets, with significant potential capacity for these growth sectors.
The scale of operation has also enabled Omsco to position itself as the only UK supplier of organic whey.
Organic Valley is a farmer-owned co-operative based in Wisconsin, USA. It produces over 1,400 skus including liquid dairy, cheese, butter, cream, eggs, vegetables, meats, specialist dairy ingredients and more. It has a turnover of $1.1bn. Omsco and Organic Valley became reciprocal co-operative members in 2015.
Omsco, in conjunction with Organic Valley, have developed a global supply chain solution to meet the requirements of infant formula manufacturers wishing to grow the organic sector; an objective previously hampered by the lack of a guaranteed and quality all-year round supply.
Over the past two years, these two leading, global organic dairy co-operatives have worked together to service this growing market.
We are the only milk suppler that tests every farm collection for constituents and milk hygiene, including micro-testing for bacteria, such as coliforms and thermodurics.
We continually challenge our members on quality and every year a technical award is given to the farm that consistently delivers the highest milk quality scores. This achievement is then set as a target for all our farms to emulate, or exceed.
Photo: Roger Duckett, Omsco Quality Manager, presenting the annual Omsco Technical Award to Liz Best, Omsco member, for outstanding milk quality results.
In line with our organic principles, Omsco is focused on a broad range of initiatives to minimise farming inputs and improve animal welfare, while increasing efficiencies and maximising quality.
Reducing inputs: Following on from our ground-breaking work in the USA, a growing number of our farmers are now producing milk without any need for antibiotics, while maintaining the highest standards of animal welfare.
Working together: Partnership lies at the heart of our co-operative ethos; it’s how many of our initiatives begin, are tested and rolled-out across the business. Through sharing and challenging each other, creatively, we can develop not only innovative solutions to existing problems, but also totally new ideas and opportunities.
Animal health & welfare: As well as micro-testing to ensure the highest quality standards, we run quarterly health screenings for our farmers and advise on how to address any emerging issues. Our approach to welfare is preventative, rather than reactive – taking measures to avoid the onset of potential problems, and using ‘early warning systems’ to immediately address any actual symptoms.
Omsco was the first dairy company to trial the Qualitative Behavioural Assessment (QBA) model – an on-farm approach centred around positive welfare that enables our farmers to identify more quickly and precisely when preventative action is required.
We also play a leading role on several industry-wide health initiatives. For example, our Deputy Chairman, Lyndon Edwards, is Chair of the Johne’s Action Group and on the farmer board of Dairy UK.