Joseph Gallo Farms, Atwater, Calif., was honored today by The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy for Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability. Joseph Gallo Farms uses energy-efficient equipment and cutting-edge technology in its cheese plant help to conserve energy and at least 2.9 billion gallons of water each year, in addition to accepting as much as 10 million gallons of stormwater and wastewater each day from local communities to use for irrigation.

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy announced the winners of the third annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C., today. The program recognizes dairy farms, businesses and collaborative partnerships that are committed to stewardship and sustainability, delivering exceptional results that are good for business, good for the environment and good for the community. The Innovation Center was established under the leadership of dairy farmers.

3 dairy farms honored for sustainability efforts

In the category “Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability,” the following farmers were honored:

  1. Maddox Dairy, Riverdale, Calif. The pioneer spirit of the Maddox family has led to opened doors for the dairy industry. The total mixed ration feeding method, the use of drive-through freestall barns and galvanized self-locking stations — standards in today’s industry — are techniques trailblazed by Maddox Dairy. Recent projects have resulted in reduced costs, lower environmental impact, and healthier, more productive livestock for the dairy; and cleaner air and energy for the surrounding community.
  2. McCarty Family Farms, Rexford, Kan. In its quest to conserve water, McCarty Family Farms partnered with Dannon to construct a condensed milk processing plant that extracts more than 14 million gallons of water from milk each year. The water can be used for animal and crop care. McCarty Family Farms also is working to create sustainable communities, bringing more than 100 new jobs to the area, which translates into more children in the local school districts, increased housing demand, and tax revenues for the county and state.
  3. Sensenig Dairy, Kirkwood, Pa. In order to ensure their farm would be viable for the next generation, Cliff and Andrea Sensenig implemented a methane digester. Three years of planning and collaboration with consultants and neighbors led to a digester that now processes manure from 200 dairy animals, 2,000 hogs and 30,000 chickens from neighboring farms, along with local food waste. Each year the digester reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to removing 206 cars from the road, while delivering environmental and financial benefits for the dairy.

Marshik Dairy of Minnesota receives honors for energy efficiency practices

The recipient of the Outstanding Achievement in Energy Efficiency award is Marshik Dairy, Pierz, Minn. In 2010, this fifth-generation 155-cow family farm implemented a new, technologically advanced and energy efficient barn that included robotic milking facilities, energy efficient lighting and ventilation, and renewable wind and solar power. Robotics automation increased cow comfort, and improved their lifestyle and that of future generations on the farm. Their success proves that these technologies can be implemented on any size dairy.

Washington’s Vander Haak Dairy creates renewable energy from food waste

The Outstanding Achievement in Renewable Energy award went to Vander Haak Dairy, Lynden, Wash. An unprecedented collaboration between Vander Haak Dairy, Washington State University and Andgar Corporation built Washington’s first dairy digester as a test bed for technology development and monitoring. Vander Haak explored the potential of adding food waste to the digester. Now, in addition to creating renewable energy and additional revenue streams for his farm, Vander Haak is helping food processors repurpose their waste to help grow more food.

The winners were selected based on results as measured by economic, environmental and community impact, also known as triple-bottom-line success. Dairy Foods editor-in-chief Jim Carper served on the independent panel of judges, which included experts from academic institutions, government, dairy science organizations, nongovernmental organizations and media, as well as environmental and dairy industry leaders.

The U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment and the Sustainability Awards program are supported by gold- and silver-level sponsors. This year’s gold-level sponsors include the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, DeLaval, DVO Anaerobic Digesters, Elanco Animal Health, HDR, InSinkErator, Tetra Pak Inc., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, World Wildlife Fund and Zoetis. Silver-level sponsors include Dolphin WaterCare, Organic Solution Management, Skip Shapiro Enterprises, LLC and Syngenta.

The awards program is part of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment, an industrywide effort to measure and improve the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the dairy industry. In 2013, more than 600 dairy industry, academic, government and nongovernment professionals contributed their expertise and an estimated 21,500 hours — which totaled nearly $2.5 million in business value — to support Innovation Center-led sustainability efforts.

Learn more about the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards, the winners and their best practices at