|From left: Mike Brubaker of Brubaker Farms, Mount Joy, Pa.; Kenn Buelow of Holsum Dairies, LLC, Hilbert, Wis.; Bill Bennett of Oakhurst Dairy, Portland, Maine; Andy Werkhoven of Werkhoven Dairy, Inc., Monroe, Wash.; Marie Audet of Blue Spruce Farm, Bridport, Vt.; Bob Joblin of DF-AP, LLC, Gooding, Idaho; and Steve Rowe of Darigold, Inc., Seattle.|
Dairy Foods editor Jim Carper served as a judge. Also serving as judges were:
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy also honored other organizations for their sustainability efforts. Winners of the Elanco Award forOutstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability are:
Blue Spruce Farm, operated by the Audet family in Bridport, Vt., is admired as a pioneer in operational efficiency. It was one of the first farms in the country to install variable speed a vacuum pump control, reducing energy used during milking by nearly 60 percent. Blue Spruce also was the first dairy farm to participate in the successful Central Vermont Public Service’s Cow Power™ program, which allows consumers to purchase renewable energy generated on a dairy farm. By implementing new technologies in lighting, milking, milk cooling, barn construction, ventilation and water heating, the farm reduced energy use from an average of 1,000 kWh per cow per year, to an average of 500 kWh per cow per year. These savings, in turn, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 500 pounds of CO2e per cow per year.
For Holsum Dairies, LLC, of Hilbert, Wis., sustainability of the community and the natural environment were significant factors when they designed the dairy and planned the operations. Holsum relies on a model of trust and mutual benefit in working with nearly 40 local crop farmers and custom harvesters to provide all of the dairy’s forage needs. In this win-win relationship, benefits to the farm, the community and the environment include higher quality feed; 11,000 acres under a single nutrient management plan; lower cost and emissions associated with manufacturing and transport of fertilizer; more efficient crop production; and more precise fertilizer application.
A decade ago, Werkhoven Dairy, Inc., of Monroe, Wash., assumed a leadership role in developing a collaborative partnership between their farm and the neighboring dairy and beef producers of the Sno/Sky Ag Alliance; the Northwest Chinook Recovery (an organization working to restore salmon habitat); and the 3,500-member Native American Tulalip Tribe. These entities formed a nonprofit organization that operates an anaerobic digester system, creating enough energy each day to produce electricity for 300 homes while keeping the air and water clean and protecting salmon streams. The system also produces enough Grade A compost for Werkhoven Dairy to naturally fertilize their fields and share with their neighbors.