The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy’s seventh annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards were presented during a ceremony at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, on May 16.
The program honors dairy farms, businesses and partnerships for socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound practices. Judges evaluated nominations based on their economic, environmental and community impact. The independent judging panel – including leading dairy conservation and commercial experts – also considered innovation, scalability and replicability.
In the photo slideshow below, see images of the operations and learn about the award winners. Photos courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
The McMahon family has operated E-Z Acres near Homer, New York, since 1957. Sons Mike (shown here) and Pete McMahon purchased the farm operation in 1985. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
E Z Acres is located in a very environmentally sensitive area. Seventy percent of the farm’s land base lies over a sole source aquifer providing water to approximately 23,000 people in the village of Homer and city of Cortland. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
Today, the E-Z Acres dairy herd consists of about 780 cows and 600 replacement animals. The herd averages 85 pounds of milk per day per cow, and has received the “Super” Milk Award by Empire State Milk Quality Council for 17 consecutive years. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
Reinford Farms has been in business since 1990 when Steve and Regina Reinford moved to Mifflintown, Pennsylvania, with 57 cows, a tractor, plow and their four young children, Brett, Chad, Drew and Dove. Today, the family manages a 725-cow freestall dairy on 1,300 acres of cropland. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
With a digester in place and a beneficial location, Reinford Farms began collecting food waste from their area’s grocery stores and food manufacturers. They personally financed a de-packaging system that separates the food from its packaging, allowing cleaner food waste to be piped into the digester. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
Royal Dairy LLC has been owned and operated by Austin Allred since 2015. Austin, his wife, Camille, and two children, Porter, 4, and Adeline, 2, recognize the importance of telling their story to consumers, especially on social media. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
Today, Allred manages 7,000 cows (6,000 milking) and a successful heifer operation. Royal Dairy milks cows in a parallel-56 parlor, marketing milk to the Northwest Dairy Association. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
In 2017, Royal Dairy installed an energy-efficient water treatment system (Biofiltro BIDA System), transforming the dairy’s wastewater into irrigation-grade water and producing a profitable byproduct, high-quality worm castings. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
Royal Dairy has hosted countless other farmers to showcase their filtration system. Local and state media have played a prominent role in sharing this story with consumers and put Royal City on the map as an innovation hub in Washington. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
The Kroger Co., headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, received recognition for outstanding dairy processing and manufacturing sustainability. As one of the world’s largest retailers, Kroger also owns and operates 36 manufacturing facilities, including 19 dairy plants. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
Kroger’s manufacturing division embarked on a division-wide effort to reduce landfill waste across all manufacturing operations, and the first Zero Waste project started in 2009 at an Ohio ice cream plant. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
These efforts have also generated new ideas and projects to reduce landfill waste and save cost, including Kroger’s current project that is reducing the plastic used in gallon milk jugs. In 2016, the company began rolling out a new lighter-weight milk jug in its dairy operations, using about 10 percent less plastic. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
Magic Dirt Horticultural Products LLC buys excess anaerobically digested cow manure fiber from the dairies and manufactures 100 percent sustainable, environmentally responsible and organic horticultural products. Starting in Idaho, the third-party owned and operated digesters on the Big Sky West and Double A dairies were the first fiber suppliers. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
With assistance from the University of Idaho, the dairy cow manure fiber has been formulated into 100 percent sustainable, environmentally responsible and certified organic retail products. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
Today, Magic Dirt involves 10 dairies and six blending and bagging facilities. Dairies include Blue Spruce and 4 Hills dairies in Vermont, Aroura Ridge Dairy in New York, four Bos Family dairies in Indiana and Statz Brothers Dairy in Wisconsin. Magic Dirt is marketed through 36 Walmart distribution centers and 2,814 Walmart stores in 43 states. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
Founded in 1909 as a farmer-owned cooperative, today the Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) has 800 employees and offices in three Oregon locations – Tillamook, Portland and Boardman. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
More than a million visitors flock to the Tillamook Creamery each year to experience the brand up-close and sample award-winning Tillamook products, now sold in all 50 states. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc.
TCCA does more than provide jobs and delicious dairy products. Engaging with local communities, TCCA identified three areas of greatest need: agricultural advocacy, food security and the health of children. Photo courtesy of Dairy Management Inc. Learn more here.