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Jim Wedeberg

Company: 
Wedeberg Farm / CROPP Cooperative
Award: 
Growing Organic Community
Year: 
2020

In 1988, Jim Wedeberg of Wedeberg Farm was one of seven farmers who helped found CROPP Cooperative in Wisconsin, and became the fledgling cooperative’s first dairy member. Jim was a driving force in the early years, serving as a leader in the quickly growing organic farming community before there were even organic standards to guide them.


For more than 30 years, Jim has farmed and been a leader in the farming community, first in the upper Midwest, and then across the country. Many cooperative farmer-members will say their having coffee or meeting with Jim at an event convinced them to take the leap into organic. In fact, Jim might have recruited more farmers to organic than any other farmer. A straight talker, he directly addresses farmers’ concerns and helps others see how becoming part of a farmer-owned cooperative business can provide economic stability, support and sense of togetherness.
 
Most recently, as Director of International Cooperative Development for CROPP Cooperative, he has worked tirelessly to influence cooperative development and organic agriculture in other parts of the world. His personal commitment and vision for a future for small family farms with a stable pay price built through the marketing of organic products have been essential in building the organic community. He also has shown a strong commitment to the next generation of organic farmers, transitioning his own dairy farm to his eldest son John in 1998, and today, his other son Jake also has a stake in the farm.
 
Over the years, he personally visited potential organic farmers to talk face-to-face, sharing experiences farmer-to-farmer. His leadership can be credited with helping growing CROPP Cooperative from its initial seven farms to the more than 1,800 total organic farms today, helping shape new markets across the country and internationally for organic food.
 
“It is very important to grow the organic community. I believe that organic production is more vital now than any time in history to help provide healthy food during this pandemic through local food and local processing producing healthy food for consumers,” said Wedeberg.