The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, established under the leadership of dairy farmers, announced its fifth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards during a ceremony today in Chicago. The program recognizes dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose sustainable practices positively impact the health and well-being of consumers, communities, animals and the environment.
Here are the nine winners announced:
Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability
Agri-Mark and Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Waitsfield, Vt. —Real Farm Power is the latest in a series of sustainability projects pioneered by the 1,200 families of Agri-Mark, owner of Cabot Creamery Cooperative. The program takes a closed-loop approach, recycling cow manure, food scraps and food processing byproducts to produce renewable energy. Real Farm Power reduces GHG emissions by 5,680 tons annually while generating 2,200 megawatt hours of renewable energy to offset the power needed to make Cabot butter. [Read about Cabot Creamery's growth strategy here and about its cheese manufacturing in Cabot, Vermont, here.]
(Honorable Mention) Foremost Farms USA and Schreiber Foods Inc., Richland Center, Wis. —Foremost Farms and Schreiber Foods produce products at separate plants but they joined forces to construct Richland Center Renewable Energy, a state-of-the-art water-treatment facility that generates renewable energy from both dairy plants’ wastewater. With capacity to treat up to 1.4 million gallons of water per day using anaerobic digesters, RCRE reduces waste-hauling costs and takes stress off the local municipal treatment plant.
Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability
Bateman’s Mosida Farms, Elberta, Utah —The Bateman family regularly hosts visitors to show that even at Utah’s biggest dairy, focusing on details makes sustainable differences. A new maternity barn has improved the health of calves and mothers, and the manure management and sand reclamation systems capture nutrients for fertilizer, conserve water and reduce sand use. A solar energy project also is underway.
Jer-Lindy Farms LLC, Brooten, Minn. —Jer-Lindy Farms proves that sustainability can be profitable, no matter the farm size. The family integrates sustainability into almost every aspect of their 200-cow operation. Jerry and Linda Jennissen pursued water-quality certification, precision application of lime and the elimination of commercial fertilizer. Energy efficiency measures reduced the farm’s energy use by 20 percent. The family also opened Redhead Creamery, a farmstead cheese operation that helps them share their story with visitors.
Siemers Holsteins, Newton, Wis. —Dan Siemers describes his family as “cow people” and “land people” and they accomplish both goals by focusing on long-term solutions and data-driven approaches. Success starts with an intensive 2.5-acre soil testing grid and regimen that incorporates soil sample results, manure tests and yield, and cropping practices to allow for finer-scale management of nutrient application. Siemers has improved milk yield by 19 percent and corn silage production by 30 percent, all while avoiding 715 metric tons of GHG emissions.
(Honorable Mention) Homestead Dairy, Plymouth, Ind. —The growth of Homestead Dairy is fueled by a sustainable business plan designed to allow three more family members to join the farm. Homestead installed a methane digester to generate additional revenue and improve the farm’s manure and nutrient management. Each day, the digester produces 800 kilowatts of energy, which is sold to the electrical grid. Recycled biosolids from the digester system provide 100 percent of cow barn bedding.
Outstanding Achievement in Resource Stewardship
Yahara Pride Farms Inc., Brooklyn, Wis. –The Yahara Pride Farms conservation board brings together farmers, agronomists and local businesses to proactively support community and environmental health and fiscal sustainability. This partnership focuses on soil conservation and effective manure management to improve land and waterways in Dane County, Wis. A voluntary certification program recognizes individual farms for nutrient management successes, and educational events share best practices for preserving soil and water quality.
Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships
Noblehurst Farms Inc., Linwood, N.Y. –Through a cooperative formed by Noblehurst Farms, food waste and scraps from 30 Wegmans stores, plus universities and schools, is gathered and delivered to a digester at the dairy. This effort keeps tons of food waste out of landfills and provides enough energy to power the 1,800-cow dairy. Key to the project’s success is the safe and efficient collection and transport of the food scraps using specialized rolling carts.
(Honorable Mention) Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Harrisburg, Pa. —The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank worked with partners to create a sustainable, replicable model for supplying milk to children and adults who depend on food assistance. CPFB worked with dairy partners to create a fresh milk program that provides 5,000 quarts of milk per week to families in need.
For more information on the awards visit: http://www.usdairy.com/sustainability/us-dairy-sustainability-awards