The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has announced the winners of the third annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards. The program recognizes dairy farms, businesses, and collaborative partnerships that are committed to stewardship and sustainability, delivering exceptional results that are good for business, good for the environment, and good for the community.
The winners were selected based on results as measured by economic, environmental, and community impact. An independent panel of judges—which included experts from academic institutions, government, dairy science organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and media, as well as environmental and dairy industry leaders—also assessed the potential for adoption by others, demonstrated learning, innovation, improvement, and scalability.
The 2014 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards Winners include:
Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability
- Maddox Dairy (Riverdale, Calif.): The total mixed ration feeding method, the use of drive-through freestall barns, and galvanized self-locking stations are techniques trailblazed by Maddox Dairy. Recent projects have resulted in reduced costs, lower environmental impact, and healthier, more productive livestock for the dairy, and cleaner air and energy for the surrounding community.
- McCarty Family Farms (Rexford, Kan.): In its quest to conserve water, McCarty Family Farms partnered with Dannon to construct a condensed milk processing plant that extracts more than 14 million gallons of water from milk each year. The water can be used for animal and crop care.
- Sensenig Dairy (Kirkwood, Pa.): In order to ensure their farm would be viable for the next generation, Cliff and Andrea Sensenig implemented a methane digester. Three years of planning and collaboration with consultants and neighbors led to a digester that now processes manure from 200 dairy animals, 2,000 hogs, and 30,000 chickens from neighboring farms, along with local food waste.
Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability
- Joseph Gallo Farms (Atwater, Calif.): Energy-efficient equipment and cutting-edge technology in its cheese plant help to conserve energy and at least 2.9 billion gallons of water each year, in addition to accepting as much as 10 million gallons of storm water and wastewater each day from local communities to use for irrigation.
Outstanding Achievement in Energy Efficiency
- Marshik Dairy (Pierz, Minn.): In 2010, this farm implemented a new, technologically advanced and energy efficient barn that included robotic milking facilities, energy efficient lighting and ventilation, and renewable wind and solar power.
Outstanding Achievement in Renewable Energy
- Vander Haak Dairy (Lynden, Wash.): An unprecedented collaboration between Vander Haak Dairy, Washington State University, and Andgar Corp. built Washington’s first dairy digester as a test bed for technology development and monitoring. Vander Haak explored the potential of adding food waste to the digester. Now, in addition to creating renewable energy and additional revenue streams for his farm, Vander Haak is helping food processors repurpose their waste to help grow more food.