Colorado organic dairy looking to expand in Chase County

    Aurora Organic Dairy, based in Boulder, Colo., wants to expand their operation to Chase County.
    Aurora spokesperson Sonja Tuitele said their plans for expanding into Chase County remain in the early stages.
    She said a separate but related land-holding company already owns a number of irrigated quarters ranging from four to six miles northwest of Imperial.
    The privately-owned company operates organic dairies in Colorado’s Weld County and two in the panhandle of Texas.
    Presently, all of the milk is being processed at a plant in Platteville, Colo. By early 2019, they will add another processing plant in Columbia, Mo.
    Tuitele said milk produced in Chase County would likely be shipped to the new plant for processing.
    Phase 1 of their project calls for construction of one milking barn that can accommodate between 1,200 to 1,400 head of dairy cattle.
    With that number of animals, she said the operation milks 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
    That requires three shifts of labor, she noted, in addition to a number of support positions that would be created by the expansion.
    In the long term, she said the company would like to add more barns but is focusing primarily on Phase 1 right now.
    To certify ground as organically approved, there can be no use of commercial fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides for a period of three years.
    She said they are already in the process of transitioning their Chase County holdings, which include at least three sections of land, towards organic certification.
    In addition to the barns, the ground will be used to grow organic corn silage and alfalfa, as well as providing open-range grazing on grass.

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