Seven exceptional farms, businesses, and partnerships have been recognized for their sustainability leadership by Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, the farmer-founded voluntary organization. The winners are commended for their achievements in areas including methane gas reduction, on-farm energy production, and water use efficiencies that support the dairy industry’s 2050 Environmental Stewardship Goals.
“This year’s winners exemplify how forward-thinking and regenerative efforts across the entire supply chain have led to positive results and what it means to be an environmental solution,” said Barbara O’Brien, CEO of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “Considered collectively, these stories of success serve as examples of all the good things U.S. dairy is doing for planetary health and why the aggressive goals we have set are within reach.”
The 2022 winners in the Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability category are:
Deer Run Dairy, Kewaunee, Wisconsin
Thanks to a raft of conservation practices, this farm has improved water quality and soil health. Firm believers in the value of cover crops, the Deer Run Dairy partners met their goal of seeding 100% of their cropland with cover crops in 2021. Additional achievements include minimal antibiotic use and feeding trials to reduce methane gas production in the rumen of the cow.
Grayhouse Farms, Inc., Stony Point, North Carolina
Besides using dozens of water efficiency and soil conservation practices, this award winner also provides its animals with the ultimate in cow comfort, from ventilation and fans to rubber matting, sprinklers and sand bedding. The Grayhouse Farms team is also recognized for its commitment to wildlife conservation on land that is not well-suited for farming.
Steve and Cheryl Schlangen Dairy Farm, Albany, Minnesota
Continuous improvement is at the heart of this leading regenerative farming operation where more than 30 conservation practices are in use. These include LED lighting, cover crops, and a manure injection system that uses less time, less fuel, and has virtually eliminated the need for commercial fertilizer on their crops.
Bar 20, Kerman, California
When it comes to on-farm energy production, Bar 20 Dairy leads the way. LED bulbs reduce electricity use in all the barns while solar array installations provide electricity for the dairy barn and offset power usage of the farming operation. In addition, a dairy digester captures methane from the 7,000-cow herd and converts it into renewable electricity via fuel cells. Combined, these measures result in carbon emission reductions equivalent to providing clean power to over 17,000 electric vehicles per year.
The other award winners are:
Milk Specialties Global, Monroe, Wisconsin, the recipient of the Outstanding Dairy Processing Sustainability award. They are singled out for a whey processing project that turned a waste product into revenue while reducing food miles and delivering knock-on environmental benefits.
Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers (MDVA), the Outstanding Community Impact winners. Through the supply chain and partnerships with corporations, customers, and conservation non-profits, MDVA has delivered more than $19 million in funds to make sustainability investments on its members’ farms. The team has also driven community impact through participation in events such as planting riparian buffers on dairy farms.
Bel Brands, Land O’Lakes Inc., and Boadwine Dairy scooped the Outstanding Supply Chain Sustainability award. This is in recognition of a multi-year sustainable agriculture program designed to demonstrate the value of feed production practices that improve soil health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Find out more about the award winners and their sustainable practices: https://www.usdairy.com/media/press-releases/us-dairy-2022-sustainability-award-winners
Read about the dairy industry’s 2050 sustainability goals: https://www.usdairy.com/sustainability/environmental-sustainability