The U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards program continues to gain support, as the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy announced that the newly launched awards program will be judged by a panel of experts from academic institutions, USDA, EPA, World Wildlife Fund, media and dairy industry leaders.

In September, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, in affiliation with the Dairy Research Institute, announced the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards, a new program to recognize dairy farms, businesses and collaborative partnerships for efforts that deliver outstanding economic, environmental and/or social benefit, thus helping advance sustainability of the dairy industry.

The judges panel brings together leading experts on the economic and environmental issues and opportunities facing the dairy industry today. This varied experience will enable the panel to assess nominations from diverse perspectives as they evaluate and select the winners. All nominations will be evaluated based on the program’s or project’s results as measured by triple bottom-line success – economic, environmental and social. Judges also will assess the potential for adoption of the idea by other dairy farms and businesses; demonstrated learning, innovation and improvement; and scalability.

Judges for the inaugural U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards are:
• Robert Bonnie, senior advisor to the Secretary for Environment and Climate, U.S. Department of Agriculture
• Jim Carper, chief editor, Dairy Foods
• Dr. Jason Clay, senior vice president, Market Transformation, World Wildlife Fund
• Lawrence Elworth, agricultural counselor to the administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
• Dr. Molly Jahn, professor, Laboratory of Genetics and Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin–Madison
• Larry Jensen, president, Leprino Foods and chair, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy
• Matt Kistler, senior vice president, Walmart
• Steve Larson, managing editor, Hoard’s Dairyman
• Dr. James Linn, department head, professor of dairy nutrition, University of Minnesota; and president, American Dairy Science Association
• Joel Makower, chairman and executive editor, Greenbiz Group Inc.
• Randy Mooney, dairy producer and chairman, National Milk Producers Federation
• Dr. M. Gatz Riddell, executive vice president, American Association of Bovine Practitioners
• Paul Rovey, dairy producer and chairman, Dairy Management Inc.
• Connie Tipton, president and chief executive officer, International Dairy Foods Association
• Dave White, chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA

In addition to the prominence of the judges panel, USDA and World Wildlife Fund have lent their support to the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards. Since 2010, World Wildlife Fund and the Innovation Center have established a transformative partnership to build on each other’s networks, knowledge and experience, with the broader goal of creating a more sustainable dairy industry environmentally, socially and economically.


Greenhouse gas reduction projects under way as part of the Sustainability Commitment are supported in part by funding and shared resources from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS). In particular, NRCS is working with the dairy industry to promote on-farm energy management.

Nominations are being accepted at through Dec. 1 for the following awards:

• The Elanco Award for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability
• The U.S. Dairy Export Council Award for Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability
• The Center for Advanced Energy Studies/Idaho National Laboratory Award for Outstanding Achievement in Energy

Winners of the inaugural U.S. Dairy Awards will be announced in February 2012 and will be recognized at a special awards ceremony held in Washington D.C. The awards are part of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment, an industrywide effort to measure and improved the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the dairy industry. PD

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