On April 23, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy announced the winners of the second annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards, recognizing dairy farms and businesses that advance the industry’s commitment to healthy products, healthy communities and a healthy planet.
“The strength of the award winners’ stories illustrates why consumers can be confident about choosing their favorite dairy foods and beverages,” said Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which was founded by dairy producers. “These and thousands of other actions being taken every day — both large and small — contribute to the industry’s overall commitment to a healthy future for the next generation.”
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 as well as demonstrated learning, innovation and improvement.
Winners of the Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability award include:
Petersen Dairy Farm, Appleton, Wis.
When the city of Appleton, Wis., decided to build a high school less than half of a mile from Petersen Dairy Farm, the Petersen family began exploring composting as a way to manage the dairy’s manure and associated odors. Now, compost is sold at the dairy by the 5-gallon pail or truckload, primarily to home gardeners. Visitors witness first-hand how their old newspapers are recycled as bedding for the cows, or mixed with manure, composted and ultimately returned to their gardens for use as mulch and to their yards for plant food. By turning their urban location into an asset, the Petersens prove that cows can be good neighbors.
Prairieland Dairy, Firth, Neb.
With the onset of urban encroachment, the Petersens — Lawrence, his recently deceased wife Rita and his sons Mark and Steve — began exploring composting as a valueadded method to manage the dairy’s manure. A creative partnership among four families put this dairy on the path to long-term prosperity and allows employees to focus on their specific talents. Sustainable design is reflected in every aspect of the facilities, which were built to be efficient and lowimpact while maximizing cow comfort. Automatic cooling, waste management and pest control systems are just part of the In addition to 1,600 cows and 600 acres, Prairieland is home to Prairieland Foods, a processing plant. solution. Prairieland Dairy also taps into the natural power of wind, gravity, and the geothermal properties of well water to reduce the use of energy, water and equipment, for savings estimated at more than $200,000.