An Oregon Credit Union Loan Helps Build One of Nation’s Most Innovative Dairy Farms

Old West Credit Union brings service to northeastern Oregon town, investing in and supporting the local businesses.

1/21/20

Stephanie Rovey at her dairy in Union, Oregon.

If you’ve ever spread Laura Chenel’s sumptuous goat cheese on a baguette, there’s a good chance the milk that helped to make it great came from family-owned Grande Ronde Dairy in Union, Oregon.

The dairy was the vision of Stephanie Rovey. The road she took to open the barn doors was a bit unconventional, but Old West Federal Credit Union believed in her.

“We actually sold the cattle operation to invest more in the dairy, and living in northeast Oregon, that’s not a typical move to make,” Stephanie said. “There were some outsiders looking in, saying, ‘The Roveys are doing WHAT?’ From the get-go, though, Old West was supportive.”

Family-owned Grande Ronde Dairy now produces milk exclusively for major cheese company Laura Chenel.

Stephanie researched the most innovative goat-milking technology available. Could she bring it to Union? Check. Could she get a new barn large enough for, say, up to 800 goats? Check. Old West was right by her side, and it helped that the credit union opened a branch in Union, a community that banks had abandoned years before.

“They were absolutely involved — they periodically checked in during the construction process, during every phase just to see where we were,” Stephanie says. “And never once did they act like we were crazy.”

It was a good investment for the member-owned credit union. Grand Ronde became the first Grade A dairy in Union County in 30 years and now contracts exclusively to provide milk to Laura Chenel.

As Stephanie says, “We are right where we want to be, right on target, and right on projection.”

Check out the video below to hear Stephanie’s story of how her credit union made her dairy farm dream a reality.