U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards: Past winners

Previous winners’ stories highlight actionable opportunities businesses can take to become more sustainable and add business value.

Meet the 2019 Winners

Each of this year’s Sustainability Award winners have a unique story to tell. But one thing is certain — their actions, both big and small, demonstrate that wholesome dairy products are produced responsibly. Read below to see how these pioneering dairy farms and businesses are advancing the industry’s commitment to healthy products, healthy communities and a healthy planet. 2019 winners


Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability

A cover crop not only helped John Maxwell during a difficult growing season, it was an excellent source of cow feed. All while preventing nutrient run-off and erosion. The result: healthier crops, soil and cows. 
From GPS-guided tractors to more efficient barn lighting to introducing a herd of crossbred cattle—and more—Dean Strauss implemented an array of efficiencies on his farm. 
When Philip Verwey changed his feed mixing program from diesel to electric, he cut emissions by the equivalent of taking 7,800 passenger cars off the road—and inspired other farms to do the same.

Outstanding Supply Chain Collaboration

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, General Mills and 16 dairy farmers from Foremost Farms USA use a science-based, on-farm assessment tool to provide a comprehensive estimate energy use. Experts and vendors from Newtrient, EnSave and Consumers Energy helped to collaborate on financial assistance as well as other incentives to reduce the costs of implementation.

Outstanding Community Impact

Gleaners Community Food Bank ensured more clients have access to milk by mastering logistical challenges of getting refrigerated milk to families in need and raising funds with the local dairy community. 

Meet the 2018 Winners

Each of this year’s Sustainability Award winners have a unique story to tell. But one thing is certain — their actions, both big and small, demonstrate that wholesome dairy products are produced responsibly. Read below to see how these pioneering dairy farms and businesses are advancing the industry’s commitment to healthy products, healthy communities and a healthy planet. 2018 winners

Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability

At E-Z Acres Farm, the ties between the farm and its neighbors run deep – at least as deep as the aquifer (water in an underground layer of glacial outwash) that provides drinking water to the surrounding region.
With a digester in place and a beneficial location, Reinford Farms found they were uniquely positioned to begin collecting food waste from their area’s grocery stores and food manufacturers.
Last summer, Austin Allred put millions of worms to work on his farm. And now they’re busy processing cow manure day and night.

Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability

The Kroger Co.
The Kroger Co. unveiled its “Zero Hunger | Zero Waste” initiative last year to end hunger in its communities by 2025 and eliminate waste across its company by 2020.

Outstanding Supply Chain Collaboration

Magic Dirt
Magic Dirt
Getting a peat moss replacement made from dairy cow manure into Walmart stores in 43 states is no small feat. But partners throughout the supply chain rose to meet demand for a more sustainable gardening product. 

Outstanding Community Impact

Tillamook County Creamery Association
This creamery on the coast of Oregon does more than provide jobs and delicious dairy products. It contributes to its community through donations and volunteer work.

Past Winners

Agri Mark and Cabot Creamery Cooperative

Cabot Creamery
Best practices: AgriMark and Cabot Creamery Cooperative
Read about Real Farm Power, the latest in a series of sustainability projects pioneered by the dairy-farm families of Agri-Mark dairy cooperative, owner of Cabot Creamery Cooperative, which takes a closed-loop approach to renewable energy.

Alliance Dairies

Sustainability Award winners 2015
Best practices: Alliance Dairies
Alliance Dairies is using a methane digester to produce 70 percent of the dairy’s daily electric needs.

Ballard Family Dairy & Cheese

Ballard Family Dairy & Cheese video
Ballard Family Dairy & Cheese video
First-generation dairy farmers Steve and Stacie Ballard had a team of energy management experts help drastically shrink their farm’s carbon footprint and save tens of thousands of dollars each year.
Best practices: Ballard Family Dairy & Cheese
Solar thermal power, light-emitting diode (LED) lighting and energy-efficient cooling add up to significant savings at Ballard Family Dairy & Cheese.

Bateman's Mosida Farms

Best practices: Bateman's Mosida Farms
Read about the Bateman family's efforts, including a new maternity barn, manure management and sand reclamation systems, and a solar energy project, that contribute to the farm's holistic approach to sustainability.

Blue Spruce Farm

Blue Spruce Farm
Best practices: Blue Spruce Farm

Read about how Blue Spruce's water recycling and anaerobic digester system contribute to their sustainability efforts.


Visit the Blue Spruce Farm website

Brubaker Farms

Brubaker Farms
Best practices: Brubaker Farms

Brubaker Farms' innovative smart practices have improved their energy efficiency and have helped educate the community.


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Central Pennsylvania Food Bank

Central Pennsylvania Food Bank
Best practices: Central Pennsylvania Food Bank
Read about how Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is providing 20,000 servings of milk per week to families in need through their sustainable, replicable model for supplying milk to those who depend on food assistance.

Darigold Inc

Darigold, Inc.
Best practices: Darigold Inc.

Darigold shares how its adoption of a systematic approach to achieving companywide results has helped transform their business.


Visit the Darigold, Inc. website
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Best practices: DF-AP, LLC

An innovative business model is delivering a win-win outcome for DF-AP, LLC.

Dorrich Dairy

Sustainability Award winners 2015
Best practices: Dorrich Dairy
Dorrich Dairy’s innovative integrated pest management system is a holistic approach that minimizes the farm’s use of chemicals as well as improving its environmental footprint.

Foremost Farms USA and Schreiber Foods Inc

Formost Farms USA and Schreiber Foods
Best practices: Foremost Farms USA and Schreiber Foods Inc.
Learn how this collaboration led to a state-of-the-art water-treatment facility that can treat up to 1.4 million gallons of water per day using anaerobic digesters, serving as a road map for other dairy production facilities wanting to manage waste streams.

Freund's Farm

Sustainability Award winners 2015
Best practices: Freund's Farm
A seventh-grade science project helped lead to a successful business venture that invests $2 million back into the local community.

Glanbia Nutritionals

Glanbia Nutritionals
While the Glanbia Nutritionals brand is not seen by consumers in a grocery store, it has a big footprint as one of the leading manufacturers of American-style cheese and whey.

Green Valley Dairy

Green Valley Dairy video
Green Valley Dairy video
Sound business practices and taking on new opportunities are helping John Jacobs improve his land for future generations
Best practices: Green Valley Dairy
Reclaiming and selling energy, repurposing manure and practicing water stewardship help Green Valley Dairy reach its sustainability goals while adhering to sound business practices.

Hilmar Cheese Company

Hilmar Ceremony Photo
Best practices: Hilmar Cheese Company
Hilmar Cheese Company's LEED Platinum® certification is recovering almost 100 percent of water from incoming milk.

Holsum Dairies LLC

Holsum Dairies, LLC
Best practices: Holsum Dairies, LLC
Sustainable practices are woven into the foundation of Holsum Dairies, LLC.

Homestead Dairy

Homestead Dairy
Best practices: Homestead Dairy
Learn how Homestead Dairy is using a methane digester to produce 800 kilowatts of energy daily and 100 percent of the cow barn bedding.

HP Hood LLC and CleanWorld

Sustainability Award winners 2015
Best practices: HP Hood LLC and CleanWorld
HP Hood LLC and CleanWorld’s collaboration has led to annual reductions in GHG emissions by 3,276 metric tons and water use by 1.8 million gallons.

Jer-Lindy Farms LLC

Redhead Creamery
Best practices: Jer-Lindy Farms LLC
Learn how Jer-Lindy Farms LLC proves sustainability can be profitable no matter the farm size as you read about the 200-cow operation's water quality certification, precision application of lime, the elimination of commercial fertilizer on their fields, and the addition of Redhead Creamery.

Joseph Gallo Farms

Sustainability is simply a new word for an age-old concept at cheese maker Joseph Gallo Farms. But not much else is a thing of the past here; cutting edge technology helps to conserve at least 2.9 billion gallons of water each year.

Joseph Gallo Farms video
Learn about a cheese maker that believes stewardship and profitability go hand-in-hand.

Best practices: Joseph Gallo Farms
See how Joseph Gallo Farms is an example that when sustainability helps businesses succeed, it’s the communities that win.

Kellercrest Registered Holsteins, Inc.

Kellercrest Registered Holsteins, Inc.
The Keller family participated in the Pleasant Valley Watershed Project, a collaboration among state, local and national agencies to reduce the local watershed’s phosphorous load.

Kinnard Farms

Kinnard Farms
The Kinnard Family milks more than 7,000 cows—a scale that allows them to maximize cow comfort while supporting their rural community.

Maddox Dairy

The pioneering spirit of the Maddox family has been a source of pride and growth for this California dairy farm. By sharing their experiences with other farmers, they have opened the door to different ways of dairying.

Maddox Dairy video
See how this dairy reduced costs, lowered its environmental impact, had healthier, more productive livestock for the dairy, and cleaner air and energy for the surrounding community.

Best practices: Maddox Dairy
Did you know that the total mixed ration feeding method, the use of drive-through freestall barns and galvanized self-locking stations — standards in today’s industry — are techniques trail-blazed by Maddox Dairy?

Marshik Dairy

Robotics automation at Marshik dairy means increased cow comfort, an improved lifestyle and smart energy efficiency.

Marshik Dairy video
See how this fifth-generation, 155-cow family 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.

Best practices: Marshik Dairy
“These technologies can be implemented on any size dairy, as long as you’re willing to search for the opportunities,” says Palmquist of Marshik Dairy.

McCarty Family Farms

Farmers know every drop of water counts. In its quest to conserve this resource, McCarty Family Farms partnered with Dannon in a way that brought new life to an entire community.

McCarty Family Farms video
Learn how one farm’s partnership had a major impact on their community.

Best practices: McCarty Family Farms
Fourteen million gallons of water — that’s how much water is extracted from milk each year at this condensed milk processing plant.

Nobis Dairy Farms

Sustainability Award winners 2015
Best practices: Nobis Dairy Farms
Nobis Dairy Farms use many projects to add up to a sustainable operation, including a closed-loop manure management system, rainwater collection and buffer strips.

Noblehurst Farms Inc

Noblehurst Farms
Best practices: Noblehurst Farms
Learn how Noblehurst Farms' food waste cooperative is collecting local organizations' food waste and scraps to provide enough energy to power the dairy, as well as divert 390 tons of waste from local landfills per month.

Northern Illinois Food Bank and Prairie Farms Dairy

Sustainability Award winners 2015
Best practices: Northern Illinois Food Bank and Prairie Farms Dairy
The Milk 2 My Plate program that has helped distribute 194,000 gallons of milk to those who need it most.

Oakhurst Dairy

Oakhurst Dairy
Best practices: Oakhurst Dairy

Continuous improvement fuels Oakhurst Dairy's operation, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, transportation fuel use, water use and plant energy.


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Oakland View Farms Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy

Oakland View Farms Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy
Environmental communities and farmers haven’t always seen eye to eye – especially in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, where water quality is a significant issue. But these groups identified a common goal.

Oregon Dairy Farm

Sustainability Award winners 2015
Best practices: Oregon Dairy Farm
Oregon Dairy Farm’s commitment to keeping Chesapeake Bay clean and sharing its story with more than 15,000 visitors a year.

Petersen Dairy Farm

Petersen Dairy Farm video
Petersen Dairy Farm video
Mark Petersen and his family made some small changes to show their growing community that cows can be good neighbors.
Best practices: Petersen Dairy Farm
Recycling, composting and new methods of tilling have helped Petersen Dairy Farm engage the local community and improve operations.

Prairieland Dairy

Prairieland Dairy video
Prairieland Dairy video
Dan Rice shares how community relations and sustainable design have helped meet changing market demands and maintain the land for years to come.
Best practices: Prairieland Dairy
Sustainable design and composting helped boost Prairieland Dairy’s local economy and increase community awareness.

Rickreall Dairy

Rickreall Dairy
Rickreall, Ore., residents know Louie Kazemier as a good neighbor. In fact, his relationships are the force behind his farm’s frequent improvements.

Sensenig Dairy

When they realized their herd wouldn’t be able to produce enough manure to fuel a methane digester, Cliff and Andrea Sensenig collaborated with consultants and neighbors to make it work.

Sensenig Dairy video
It took three years of planning, but now the digester at Sensenig Dairy processes manure from 200 dairy animals, 2,000 hogs and 30,000 chickens.

Best practices: Sensenig Dairy
Each year, the digester reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to removing 206 cards from the road.

Siemers Holsteins

Siemers Holsteins
Best practices: Siemers Holsteins
Read about Siemers Holsteins' long-term solutions and data-driven approaches to sustainability, which have led to the farm avoiding 715 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Skyridge Farms

Skyridge Farm WWF video
Skyridge Farms video
Dan DeGroot shares how he created a model of sustainability and efficiency that is inspiring other dairies in his community.
Best practices: Skyridge Farms
Skyridge Farms employs technology upgrades, recycling, water stewardship and responsible land management to reach sustainability goals.

SwissLane Farms

SwissLane Farms
This farm is 23 miles from downtown Grand Rapids, the second-largest city in Michigan. That poses both pressures from urban sprawl and opportunities to reach people several generations removed from the farm.

T-Bar Dairy and White Gold Dairy

T-Bar Dairy and White Gold Dairy
Best practices: T-Bar Dairy and White Gold Dairy
T-Bar Dairy has a unique method of growing crops in drought-ridden Central Valley, California, and the farm has reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the equivalent of taking 184 cars off the road.


Unilever video
Unilever ice cream plant video
Plant managers at Unilever’s ice cream plant in Henderson, Nev., employed a measured approach: allocate resources, identify potential projects, follow through on implementation and track results.
Best practices: Unilever
Unilever implemented system upgrades, waste water system improvements and utility monitoring to build upon their Sustainable Living Plan.

Vander Haak Dairy

Vander Haak Dairy, Washington State University and Andgar Corporation built Washington’s first dairy digester. Together, they monitored it to ensure it was both efficient and economical.

Vander Haak Dairy video
Washington’s first dairy digester was a test-bed for technology development and monitoring. Watch this video to learn more.

Best practices: Vander Haak Dairy
“After nearly a decade, it is safe to say Steve’s digester is literally the little engine that’s been powering a renewable energy revolution in the U.S. dairy industry,” says Steve Rowe of Darigold, Inc.

Werkhoven Dairy Inc

Werkhoven Dairy, Inc.
Best practices: Werkhoven Dairy, Inc.
Werkhoven Dairy's unique partnerships are yielding benefits for a community and the environment.

Yahara Pride Farms Inc.

Yahara Pride Farms
Best practices: Yahara Pride Farms
Read about a rapidly growing partnership that created a voluntary certification program and provides farmers the opportunity to test new technologies with minimum risk through a cost-sharing program.