Michigan dairy farm families have a long-term commitment to the care of the environment and their communities. Every day, they implement and support practices that make economic sense, help the environment and are socially responsible to their communities and the world.

Dairy farmers live on or near the land they farm, and they understand the importance of protecting and preserving that land for future generations. They work daily to maintain and improve their surroundings to provide the best possible care for their animals and the land. For Michigan's dairy farmers, every day is Earth Day.

In recognition and celebration of Earth Day, the Michigan Dairy News Bureau would like to recognize some of Michigan's dairy farm families for their environmental thoughtfulness and sustainable practices.

Mike Rasumussen - Mike with his wife, Sonja, and his father, Chris, operates Hillhaven Farms- a fourth-generation farm - in Edmore, Mich. In 2009, their farm reached the centennial mark, which means the same farm has been in the same family for 100 years. The farm's rich history not only includes a proud dairy heritage, it also boasts a rich tradition of resource management and soil conservation. The farm has used the National Resource Conservation Service's (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program for upgrades to their land management, and they are enrolled in the Conservation Security Program at its highest level of participation.

In 2006, Hillhaven Farms was recognized as Cooperator of the Year in the county by the NRCS.

Jerry Neyer - Jerry dairies in two locations in Shepherd, Mich., with his brother, Bryan, father, Dave, and uncle, Bill. With 3,000 animals in two locations, the Neyer Farm has expanded over the years to accommodate their growing family. Considered a CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation), Neyer Farms are subject to stringent regulations by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Neyer pays extra attention to the land, water and air while caring for his animal to ensure they can provide wholesome high-quality milk and dairy products.

Jeff Horning - Jeff is a fifth-generation farmer. Together with his wife, Lynda, father, Earl, and mother, Diane, Jeff manages the daily operation in Manchester, Mich. He stays connected in the local community as a township trustee and a member of the planning commission. The Hornings' farm is located across the road from a lake where the family and community member enjoy recreational activities. The Horning's understand the importance of conserving their natural resources and protecting the land, air and water for families, communities and animals.

Brad Crandall - Brad and his wife, Monica, are the fifth generation to own Crandall Dairy Farms near Battle Creek, Mich. As dairy farmers that live on and near the land they farm, they understand the importance of protecting and conserving the community's natural resources. With farming a long-standing family tradition, preserving and improving their land is something the Crandall's constantly strive for. Advancements in technology have improved their sustainable land management, including soil conservation when rotating crops. Brad is active in their milk coopoerative and sits on the board of the county Farm Bureau.