Producers Churn Out a New Market Niche
  • 29 November 2019

Producers Churn Out a New Market Niche

Better Farming Magazine
(December 2019 issue)

by Jim Algie

Amid increased import market competition, some dairy farmers and processors find opportunities to sell products made with milk from grass-fed cattle.

Bill van Nes likes few things better than watching his cows tackle fresh grass when he moves them daily from paddock to paddock. 

"I enjoy it when the cows get on fresh grass; I get a high on it," van Nes says during an interview at St. Brigid's Dairy. It's the 1,200-acre 430-cow grass-fed Jersey operation that he and his wife Cindy run in Huron County.

His animals shift with obvious enthusiasm when he approaches to lift the electrified fence that he uses to define paddock boundaries.

One of the three suppliers of organic Jersey milk to Emerald Grasslands, a year-old Ontario venture that produces and distributes premium high-fat grass-fed butter, van Nes began grass-feeding cows for dairy production about 10 years ago. He grew up on a family-run conventional dairy operation nearby, but admits he has "always been a little odd" about cattle on grass.

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About Emerald Grasslands 
Can-Dairy Inc., which is based in Clarksburg, has coast-to-coast distribution for its Emerald Grasslands salted and unsalted butters. The company has plans for yogurt, ghee (a clarified butter product used in south Asian cooking), and kefir (a fermented, yogurt-like beverage). Can-Dairy Inc. is a recipient of Bioenterprise's Seed Funding (Round 6).