making a difference for dairy

Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year

Recognizing Progressive Dairy Producers

Co-sponsored by IDFA and Dairy Herd Management

Nominations are now closed for 19th annual Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year, an annual award co-sponsored by IDFA and Dairy Herd Management magazine. The winner will revealed and honored at Dairy Forum 2017, January 29-February 1, at the J.W. Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes in Orlando, 

The award honors farms that are improving efficiency through progressive management practices, production technologies and/or marketing approaches. Nominees are judged on current methods as well as their positioning to meet future economic and business challenges.

The award recipient will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Dairy Forum to attend a special presentation ceremony held during the program. (Winner will be responsible for all tax liabilities.) The person nominating the winner will receive complimentary registration to Dairy Forum. In addition, the winning operation will be highlighted in the January 2017 issue of Dairy Herd Management.  


Holsum Dairies of Hilbert, Wis., received the 2016 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year Award.

Holsum Dairies operates two dairy farms about four miles apart near Hilbert, Wis., about 30 minutes south of Green Bay. Holsum Irish Dairy was built in 2001, and Holsum Elm Dairy was built five years later. Together, they milk 8,200 cows and ship 190 million pounds of milk annually.

With methane digestion an integral part of operations, Holsum Dairies generates enough equivalent electricity to provide power for both farms and an additional 400 to 600 residential homes. Waste heat from the power generators also provides heat for both operations.

“Holsum Dairies earned the award because the farms demonstrate responsible land stewardship in creative ways,” said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO. “The owners have incorporated many innovative initiatives to optimize milk production, minimize waste and commit to longer-term sustainability.”

Holsum Dairies is featured in the January issue of Dairy Herd Management. View a brief video about the owners and their operation here.

Previous Winners

  • Hilmar Jerseys, Hilmar, Calif. 
  • Milk Source, LLC, Kaukauna, Wis.
  • McCarty Family Farms, Rexford, Kan.
  • Sweetwater Valley Farm, Philadelphia, Tenn.
  • Brubaker Farms, Mount Joy, Pa.
  • Haubenschild Dairy Farm, Princeton, Minn.
  • High Plains Dairy of Friona, Texas
  • KBC Farms, Purdy, Mo.
  • Joseph Gallo Farms, Atwater, Calif.
  • KF Dairy, El Centro, Calif.
  • North Florida Holsteins, Bell, Fla.
  • C Bar M Dairy, Jerome, Idaho
  • Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy, Kewaunee, Wis.
  • Si-Ellen Farms, Jerome, Idaho
  • Baldwin Dairy/Emerald Dairy, Emerald, Wis.
  • Clauss Dairy Farms, Hilmar, Calif.
  • Mason Dixon Farms, Gettysburg, Pa.