Jesse Meerman is a 5th generation dairyman in Coopersville, Michigan. He is the owner of Green Pastures cow boarding, with his wife Betsy. Jesse also sells milk to Grassfields Cheese, where the milk is made into delicious aged, organic cheeses. The Meerman family has been farming this piece of land since 1882.
In 1991 the Meermans adopted intensive grazing methods of the dairy herd, rather than conventional, confinement farming. Most farms in the United States operate under confinement styles of farming, where the cows live inside the barns for their entire lifetimes (which is often only 4 years!). Cows in confinement are brought all of their feed, rather than foraging and grazing for themselves in green pastures. Cows that are given the opportunity to forage not only live longer (10 or more years), but are much healthier and fertilize the soils for us. Doesn't this just make sense???
In May of 2007, the dairy herd and farmland were certified Organic (now through OEFFA). Most of the land had been farmed organically for many years prior. We do not give the cows any hormones (for growth or breeding), antibiotics, or any food or minerals that have not been grown or processed organically. If a cow becomes ill we treat her with herbal remedies, which isn't very often. The dairy also meets Grade A standards and is inspected by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (formerly called the MDA) regularly.
In spring of 2005, Green Pastures was initiated in order to provide families with fresh, unprocessed, whole milk. While it is illegal to sell unpasteurized milk in the state of Michigan, selling cow shares to individuals and families is legal and programs around the state are in operation. Many of them operate under the standards outlined by MI Fresh Milk Council (www.mifreshmilkcouncil.com).