MILWAUKEE (AP) — New federal numbers show Wisconsin had 1,180 organic farms in 2012, more than any other state except California.

Nearly one in five was in Vernon County, home of Organic Valley, the nation’s top seller of organic milk.

Organic Valley CEO George Siemon said the cooperative started in the late 1980s when tobacco farmers in western Wisconsin were looking for a new crop.

The company now employs 1,800 farms nationwide and 750 non-farm workers.

Siemon said its success has led to others’ success. Vernon County also is home to Harmony Valley Farm, and another major farm, Driftless Organics, is in neighboring Crawford County.


Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.