June is National Dairy Month and it seems fitting for Midwest Dairy to be featured as Environmental Initiative’s member of the month and to take this opportunity to reflect on our partnership.
Midwest Dairy represents 5,800 dairy farm families and works on their behalf to share their farm story and the role that dairy plays in being good for the body, good for the land and good for the community. Midwest Dairy is funded by farmers from across a 10-state Midwest region, and they are headquartered in St. Paul, Minn.
Dairy farmers have always been environmentally conscious stewards of their land and animals, and they haven’t always been able to showcase the metrics in their concerted efforts around sustainability.
In 2017 Midwest Dairy connected with Environmental Initiative through our shared values in water and soil health issues. The connection resulted in collaborating to form the Headwaters Agriculture Sustainability Partnership (HASP) in 2018. Through HASP, Midwest Dairy has worked on three different projects including the recent return-on-investment project with three Stearns County, Minn., dairy farmers. The projects are all related to water quality and soil health with the ultimate goal of lowering the carbon footprint of dairy farms.
Farmer Relations Manager Lucas Sjotrom, Midwest Dairy, says “It has been such a great opportunity to combine the knowledge of the dairy industry and that of Environmental Initiative. We share many values within sustainability, but operated in different circles so the combined knowledge has been both a learning experience and refreshing opportunity to hear about struggles in other industries.”
This work is a great example of local efforts being done in support of a greater vision set by the U.S. dairy community. Farmers, cooperatives, processors and others in dairy have come together with three environmental stewardship goals, all part of the Net Zero Initiative.
By 2050, the U.S. dairy industry collectively commits to:
- Become carbon neutral or better.
- Optimize water while maximizing recycling.
- Improve water quality by optimizing use of manure and nutrients.
We look forward to continuing to grow the partnership between Midwest Dairy and Environmental Initiative, as we work together towards a common goal, great things happen. To learn more about the U.S. Dairy’s Net Zero Initiative, visit www.usdairy.com/sustainability