While the dairy industry’s legacy is built on providing consumers with wholesome, nutrientrich products, further improving environmental stewardship also remains a top priority.

Dairy foods produced in a sustainable manner are important not only to the planet but also to the health and vitality of the dairy industry. Research shows that consumers are increasingly interested in their personal impact on the environment, and some make purchase decisions based on those values.

Dairy farmers continue to reduce their farms’ impact on the environment and operate more efficiently. In fact, Cornell University research shows that over the past 60 years, the carbon footprint of dairy farms has been reduced by 63 percent.

While this environmental commitment has been — and remains today — a priority at dairy farms, it often times goes unnoticed by consumers. Community relations outreach helps producers tell their story and illustrates how they care for their land, water and air.

Ideas include:
• Team with your local checkoff organization to identify community or school gardens where you can donate composted cow manure. A list of local checkoff organizations can be found at: http://bit.ly/qSSpR2
• Host an “open house” at the farm, so visitors can see the systems in place that promote environmental stewardship.
• Work with local landscape companies or nurseries to explore how they might use composted manure instead of manufactured fertilizers.

For more informat ion, go to: www.mydairytoolkit.com