New Crop of Organic Leaders

Broomfield, Colo. (July 22, 2014) ­– Horizon Organic announced the four recipients of the 2014 Horizon Organic Producer Education (HOPE) Scholarships, an award that encourages young people to enter the field of organic agriculture. The students, each of whom will receive $2,500, are children or grandchildren of Horizon’s nearly 700 family farmers. Listen to this podcast featuring two of the four scholarship recipients, Callie Brodt and Sierra Knight.

In launching the HOPE Scholarship program in 2007, Horizon became the first national organic dairy brand to offer a scholarship program designed to build the next generation of organic leaders. Today, there’s growing consumer demand for organic foods, due in part to concerns about the effects of pesticide use and growth hormones, the impacts of antibiotic resistance and increased awareness of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). As an organic brand, all Horizon products comply with the National Organic Program (NOP) standards, which prohibit the use of GMOs, toxic and persistent pesticides and added growth hormones.

“Organic is the original non-GMO label and that is a major factor in the rise of popularity in organic products for families and consumers,” said Mike Ferry, president of Horizon. HorizonOrganic“This next generation of organic farmers, like our HOPE Scholarship winners, will help not only meet but further the demand for organic food.”

This year’s four scholarship recipients are:

Callie Brodt (Ferndale, Calif.), age 20, is inspired by her grandfather, Horizon farmer Jim Walker of Walker Dairy. This is the third time that Callie has received the HOPE Scholarship. As she heads into her junior year at Chico State University, where she is pursuing a degree in Agriculture Business and Marketing, Callie says she is “even more passionate about the future of organic and what it has to offer for consumers and producers.” Callie will be helping the university’s dairy program research organic feed techniques using a system that produces organic, dependable sprouted fodder in only six days. HOPE Scholarship committee member Robyn O’Brien said that she appreciated “the combination of agriculture and business in Callie’s studies. I love Callie’s ability to communicate the issues of organic agriculture to a wide audience.”

Philip Fagundes (Merced, Calif.), age 20, is the son of Horizon farmer Ralph Fagundes, who owns and operates Fagundes Brothers Dairy with his brothers in Atwater, Calif. Philip, a two-time HOPE Scholarship recipient, plans to graduate in spring 2015 from California State University, Fresno with a degree in Agricultural Business. For Philip, his continued education in organic agriculture is the single most important factor for the growth of the industry. “I want to use my research skills to develop better methods of organic farming and educate people on why organic is an important part of the dairy world,” Philip said. For HOPE Scholarship committee member Steve Gilman, “Philip seems to have his priorities straight and is actively realizing his goals.”

Ashlie Hardy (Farmington, Maine), age 20, is the daughter of Horizon farmers Henry and Teresa Hardy of Hardy Farm. Ashlie, now a two-time recipient of the HOPE Scholarship, attends McGill University in Quebec, Canada, where she is pursuing a degree in Farm Management and Technology. For Ashlie, her education in organic agriculture is critical for helping her meet her career goals. “The world needs more educated, creative thinkers to continue to innovate,” Ashlie said. “By continuing my organic education, I will be able to contribute to organic agriculture and take part in the hands-on, active part of farming.” HOPE Scholarship committee member Glenda Yoder said, “Ashlie’s passion for farming and organic agriculture is impressive and well expressed.”

Sierra Knight (Lisbon, N.Y.), age 20, is the daughter of Horizon farmer Bradley Knight of Knight’s Meadow View Farm. Sierra, now a three-time recipient of the HOPE Scholarship, is attending The State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam, where she is majoring in biology, her first step toward her goal of becoming a veterinarian. Growing up on a farm inspired Sierra to want to look after livestock. “The health of a herd is crucial to the success of any farm operation, including organic farms,” Sierra said. “Good quality products come from healthy animals.” HOPE Scholarship committee member Dr. Alan Greene said Sierra “is keenly aware of the need for quality veterinarians who will take the necessary steps to keep a herd safe and maintain organic standards.”

The 2014 HOPE Scholarship recipients were chosen by a committee of organic industry leaders, including: Tracy Favre, National Organic Standards Board member and former chief operating officer, Holistic Management International (HMI); Steve Gilman, policy coordinator, Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Interstate Council; Alan Greene, MD, founder of DrGreene.com; Faye Jones, executive director, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); Robyn O’Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth and founder of AllergyKids; Bob Scowcroft, a long-standing organic advocate who has served in various leadership positions for 35 years; and Glenda Yoder, associate director, Farm Aid.

About Horizon Organic

Horizon believes in providing great-tasting products that make it easy for moms to provide nutritious options for their kids. Founded in 1991, Horizon was a pioneer in the organic industry and was the first company to supply organic milk nationally. Today, Horizon offers a delicious variety of certified organic dairy products to satisfy a broad range of consumer needs. Horizon works with nearly 700 active and transitioning organic family farmers across the U.S. to supply 99 percent of the milk used to make its organic dairy products. Giving families more organic choices is just one way we champion the organic movement, so we are proud to offer pantry staples such as Mac & Cheese, Snack Crackers, Sandwich Crackers and Snack Grahams from Horizon. These products are available in certified organic and made with organic options, all of which fall on the organic spectrum and are regulated by the USDA’s National Organic Program. For more information about Horizon’s products, visit www.horizondairy.com.

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