Winners announced for 2015 Dairy Sustainability Awards

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, established under the leadership of dairy farmers, announced the winners of the fourth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards on May 7, 2015, at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The program recognizes outstanding dairy farms, businesses and partnerships for practices large and small that not only focus on the environment, but add up to promote the health and well-being of consumers, communities, cows, employees, the planet and business.

“This year’s award winners truly are changing the equation for what the industry and consumers think about sustainability,” says Barbara O’Brien, president of the center. “Each winner has a unique commitment to sustainability that has strengthened their connections with their communities, ensured the stability of the waterways and wildlife surrounding their properties and blazed new trails for other dairy farms and businesses to follow.”

Sustainable practices recognized this year range from water conservation and recovery of food waste to a community- based program that increases access to fresh milk for families in need.

The winners were selected based on results as measured by economic, environmental and community impact, also known as triple-bottom-line success. An independent panel of judges – which included experts working with and through the dairy industry – also assessed the potential for adoption by others, demonstrated learning, innovation, improvement and scalability.

“To continue to pass their farms and companies down to the next generation, this year’s award winners have done an excellent job improving upon best practices and serving their communities,” says Paul Rovey, an Arizona dairy farmer, member of the judging panel and chair of Dairy Management Inc. “I am excited to share their successes so they can easily be adopted by others in the industry.”

The 2015 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards winners include:

Outstanding achievement in resource stewardship

Freund’s Farm, East Canaan, Connecticut – Freund’s Farm has created a successful side business selling CowPots, biodegradable gardening containers made of composted manure from their herd of 275 dairy cows. Through CowPots, they are reducing phosphorus buildup in their soil, employing 11 full-time and 15 seasonal personnel, and investing $2 million back into the local community. Their commitment does not end there. The farm’s solar panel system produces 100 percent of its electricity needs.

See the recent Progressive Dairyman article that features Freund’s Farm and CowPots.

Outstanding dairy farm sustainability

Dorrich Dairy, Glenwood, Minnesota – The Vold family dramatically reduced chemical insecticides to control flies – and reduced fly control costs by 85 percent – when they introduced wasp larvae. This is one part of an integrated pest management system and overall commitment to cow health that contributes to making their operation financially strong and environmentally sound, now and for future generations.  PD

See other award winners at the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy website.

—From Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy news release