In 2002, CONO Cheesemakers was the first dairy cooperative to award its farmers a premium for pasturing. The fact that no other dairy processor in the Netherlands offered this kind of premium shows what a leap forward this is in terms of the quality of animal welfare, sustainability and milk.
It’s pleasant for the cows to be able to graze and rest in the pasture. Cows are grazers. Fresh grass is healthy and nutritious. Cows that graze in pastures display more natural behavior, feel more at ease, and are consequently healthier.
Cows grazing in the meadow exhibit more natural behavior , are ' comfortable in their own skin " and therefore healthier.
CONO Cheesemakers encourages its dairy farmers to let their cows graze in pastures by offering a pasturing premium. In 2016 this premium was doubled to €2.00 per 100 kilograms of milk, provided the cows are outside at least 120 days a year for at least 6 hours a day. This is the pasturing standard set by the Dutch foundation for the promotion of pasturing.
While 70% of all Dutch dairy farmers allowed their cows to go outside in 2014, 92% of those affiliated with CONO met the pasturing standard.
Last year, CONO’s pasturing cows spent an average of 180 days in the pasture.
When cows eat fresh grass, this has a positive impact on the cheese. Fresh grass means richer, tastier milk, and you can taste it. We want to make the most delicious cheese in the Netherlands. A top-quality cheese that’s rich in taste and texture. The quality of the milk is crucial for the ultimate unique taste and “texture” of our cheese. We consciously use the very best ingredients during the entire process, from cow to cheese. So that includes pasture-grazed milk! We also work in a traditional way, using artisanal elements and natural ripening on wooden shelves. This takes more time and effort, but it results in the most delicious