The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, recently announced its U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award winners during a May 8 ceremony in Rosemont, Illinois.
The program recognizes dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose practices improve the well-being of people, animals and the planet.
Through creative problem solving, this year’s winners addressed environmentally beneficial practices, resource and energy reduction and the role of dairy in bringing quality nutrition to food insecure populations.
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.
“This program and these winners show there are no limitations to dairy ingenuity,” said Marilyn Hershey, Pennsylvania dairy farmer and chair of the Dairy Management Inc. board of directors.
Two Edge members were among the winners:
Outstanding dairy farm sustainability
Cinnamon Ridge Farms (Donahue, Iowa)
Cinnamon Ridge Farms owner John Maxwell found an economic and environmentally sustainable solution to sourcing cow feed early in his career by planting a cover crop during the winter season. The crop, rye grass, survived harsh growing conditions while being great nutrition for his cows. The cover crop prevents nutrient runoff and erosion, building healthier soil for corn or soybean crops. The farm also became a destination for food waste, accepting 2,000 pounds of coffee creamer from a manufacturing company each week instead of ending up in a landfill. The creamer provides a carbohydrate source for the cows’ diet with added flavor.
Majestic Crossing Dairy (Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin)
The 2,000 cows at Majestic Crossing Dairy are the result of a unique strategic shift when owner Dean Strauss began building a herd of crossbreeds. The cows tend to be smaller in size, requiring less food and producing less manure. Strauss has adopted a GPS guidance system on his tractors and other machinery that helps identify efficiencies in seed distribution as well as reducing fuel, pesticide and fertilizer use on the 3,600 acres of crops grown to feed the cows. Majestic Crossings also invested in robotic milking machines that have reduced his farm’s water use by 30 percent, or about 20 gallons per cow each day.
View the complete list of award winners at usdairy.com/sustainability