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Dairy Facts 2016

IDFA Members Recognized with U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards

Jul 05, 2017
Glanbia Nutritionals staff members receive the the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award for outstanding dairy processing and manufacturing from Matt Nuckols, Eastview Farm Inc. (right).

Glanbia Nutritionals, The Kroger Co. of Michigan and the Michigan Milk Producers Association received recognition last week for outstanding efforts in sustainability. Glanbia received the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award for outstanding dairy processing and manufacturing, and Kroger and the Michigan Milk Producers Association earned an honorable mention in outstanding achievement in community partnerships.

The U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards, sponsored by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, were launched in 2011 to recognize outstanding dairy farms, businesses and partnerships for socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound practices. Award recipients are chosen in four categories: outstanding dairy farm sustainability, outstanding dairy processing and manufacturing, outstanding achievement in resource stewardship and outstanding achievement in community partnerships.

“IDFA congratulates Glanbia for this well-deserved award and for meeting such impressive goals on sustainability,” said Michael Dykes, IDFA president and CEO, who was one of the judges this year. “We also commend Kroger and Michigan Milk for their generous and compassionate response to a community neighbor in need. Each of these companies is truly a role model for the dairy industry, and we’re proud to count them as members.”

Award winners represent the U.S. dairy community's voluntary efforts toward continuous improvement in sustainability. There were 12 winners in 2017.

Glanbia Nutritionals, Evanston, Ill., has a big footprint as one of the leading manufacturers of American-style cheese and whey. To implement a new, comprehensive sustainability plan, it started with a single plant in Idaho. A team determined priority impact areas, measured social presence, determined metrics to demonstrate progress and identified areas where additional resourcing was needed. By 2016, the company had replicated this approach with three more plants and adopted a global sustainability strategy that promises to "nurture, grow and sustain the lives of our employees, milk producers, customers, consumers and communities." The program resulted in a 20 percent reduction of the company’s global water consumption and put the company on track to meet its sustainability goals in 2020.

The benefits of milk's nutrient-dense profile have long been established, but the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) relied on lesser-known qualities to help the residents of Flint, Mich., during a crisis in which they were susceptible to lead poisoning from contaminated water. Calcium and iron, found in dairy, can help mitigate health risks of lead consumption. Armed with this knowledge, MMPA, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and The Kroger Co. of Michigan donated 589,824 servings of milk to those in need. The comprehensive partnership now serves as a donation model for other communities affected by potential lead contamination.

Other award winners and honorable mentions:

  • Kinnard Farms, Casco, Wisc. – Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability
  • Rickreall Dairy, Rickreall, Ore. – Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability
  • SwissLane Farms, Alto, Mich. – Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability
  • Kellercrest Registered Holsteins, Inc., Mount Horeb, Wisc. – Outstanding Achievement in Resource Stewardship
  • Mercer Vu Farms, Mercersburg, Pa.. – Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability, Honorable Mention,
    Oakland View Farms & Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, Caroline County, Md. – Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships
  • U.S. Dairy Education & Training Consortium Extension, College Station, Texas – Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships, Honorable Mention

 Read more about each award winner here.

For more information about sustainability in the dairy industry, contact Emily Lyons, IDFA director of regulatory affairs and counsel, at

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