Fairfield organic dairy named one of the nation's best

Radiance Diary in Fairfield has been named one of the best organic dairies in the nation./KTVO

A heartland dairy farm continues to receive high marks from national ag critics.

Francis Thicke, owner of Radiance Dairy in Fairfield, Iowa, started farming organically more than 40 years ago.

His farm milks about 90 Jersey Cows, which graze fresh grass in 60 different pastures.

With that practice alone, Radiance Dairy earns a Five Cow rating, which is the highest score, based on Cornucopia standards.

Thicke said the Wisconsin-based institute serves as a watch dog for the organic industry, rating the performance of both products and producers.

“We’re happy with where it’s going," Thicke said. "Part of the fun with grazing is that you’re outside and the cows are outside and it’s not like you’re working in a confinement and having to deal with all those problemsthe cows are a lot healthier.”

Thicke said he appreciates the national attention, but he doesn’t expect it to make much of a difference in sales. Radiance Dairy markets all products locally. Just last week, the operation expanded its sales to Iowa City.


Original Story:

Small family operated organic dairy farms with cows freely grazing on verdant pastures are going out of business while large confined animal operations with thousands of animals lined up in assembly-line fashion are expanding.

Many traditional small-scale organic farmers are fighting to stay in business by appealing to consumers to look closely at the organic milk they buy to make sure it comes from a farm that meets the idyllic expectations portrayed on the cartons.

The Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute, a nonprofit farm policy public interest group, is launching an updated organic dairy scorecard to help consumers choose among 160 organic dairy brands.

One local operation made the list as one of the best organic dairies in the nation.

Radiance Dairy in Fairfield checks in with a five cow rating. That means cornucopia considers them top-rated and beyond organic. Radiance is considered the fifth-best dairy in the rankings.

Radiance owner Francis Thicke told KTVO last October that when he began his organic operation, it was considered beyond crazy.

Another group, the Organic Farmers Association, has created the Real Organic Project, hoping to create an additional packaging label to tell consumers that the products meet traditional organic standards.

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