DFA CEO Lends Perspective on Product Partnership and Supply Chain Sustainability

April 29, 2014

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) was recognized today as a leader in sustainability efforts at Walmart’s first Sustainability Product Expo in Rogers, Ark. During the event, Rick Smith, DFA’s president and chief executive officer, participated in a panel discussing sustainable agriculture and building more efficient supply chains. Executives from Cargill and Monsanto joined Smith on the panel.

The expo brought together representatives from organizations that are recognized as leading the way in sustainability efforts. Additional panels included executives from well-known brands such as Pepsi, General Mills, Campbell Soup Company and Kellogg’s. The sessions were moderated by Doug McMillon, Walmart’s president and chief executive officer.

As a panelist, Smith described how DFA is committed to sustainability, from its nearly 15,000 farmer-owners across the country to the Cooperative’s 33 manufacturing facilities that produce dairy ingredients and branded retail products.

Smith stated that it is part of DFA’s core strategy to make it easier and more profitable for members to farm and that the Cooperative supports those efforts by providing Farm Services and evaluations of on-farm practices with the Gold Standard Dairy Program.

“Our program allows us to align with industry efforts such as National Milk Producers Federation’s Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program and the stewardship measurement efforts undertaken by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy,” said Smith. “In addition, we have an internal program that allows us to work closely with customers on efforts aligned to their needs.” 

The panelists joined Walmart in a pledge to work together to build a more sustainable supply chain. This was supported by each business’s own pledge, including DFA’s, which stated: From farm to table, Dairy Farmers of America’s farmer-owners and employees are committed to producing safe, quality and wholesome dairy products through integrity-based, sustainable practices. We have a moral obligation to feed the world, and we are dedicated to ensuring our members are able to fulfill that obligation for generations to come.

Toward that obligation, we will have more than 90 percent of our nearly 9,000 member farms participating in our Gold Standard Dairy program, or similar efforts toward optimization, by 2020.