Sustainability

As caretakers of animals and the land, sustainability isn't just an initiative for our farmers – it's a way of life and a responsibility to future generations. At Dairy Farmers of America, we are constantly focused on finding new, innovative ways to conserve resources, reduce waste and work efficiently — on farms, in plants and on the road. We are committed to developing solutions and sharing them with others in order to give farm families the opportunity to work the same land for years to come.

OUR SUSTAINABILITY PILLARS

Our People

We put our people first, on and off the farm. We want all of our employees and farmers to thrive, which is why we provide a safe place to work and support positive workplace culture. 

Our Planet

The success of our business – today and for future generations – relies on the health and wellbeing of our farmers' cows and the environment. 


 

Our Communities

We enrich our communities with the nutritional goodness of dairy, by providing a direct connection to where their food comes from and through ongoing community service efforts. 

Sunstainability in action

On our family farms

Sustainability is key to the longevity and growth of our family farms. That's why we're constantly researching and re-evaluating best practices to benefit the environment and the world. One example is the use of renewable energy methods, such as wind turbines, solar power and even methane digesters that convert animal manure to energy.

Environmental stewardship

We don't just talk about stewardship as an idea. For us, it's a concerted effort with data to back it up. That's why we incorporated FARM Environmental Stewardship evaluations into our Gold Standard Dairy Program as a voluntary component. Performed on more than 370 family farms across the country so far, these reports calculate the carbon and energy footprints of our farms. 

The dairy industry's focus on minimizing our environmental impact isn't new. In fact, the carbon footprint of a gallon of milk has decreased by 63 percent since 1944. 

Renewable energy

To further support our members, we've partnered with Vanguard Renewables to provide additional tools and resources to advance on-farm renewable energy efforts. Specifically, this program supports the development of anaerobic digester technology — an innovative way to turn farm waste into renewable energy. 

In our plants

We have many efforts underway to cut down on the amount of resources consumed during the manufacturing process. Some examples include:

  • Craigs Station Creamery, founded by DFA and eight New York family farms, is at the forefront of incorporating the latest technology and conservation practices —including recycling water, generating power from solar panels and turning animal waste into clean energy and fertilizer.  
  • Our state-of-the-art dairy processing plant in Garden City, Kan. is best-in-class, embracing food safety, worker safety and sustainability. For example, for the plant's first 20 years of operation the city has agreed to pre-purchase treated wastewater to irrigate city parks – helping the city with its own conservation initiatives. 

Our affiliations

As leaders in the dairy industry, we're proud to advance sustainability initiatives in collaboration with the following organizations: 
  • Global Dairy Platform, committed to responsible and sustainable food production
  • International Dairy Federation, supporting dairy nutrition and sustainability research
  • Dairy Sustainability Framework, which developed a sustainability framework and criteria for the global dairy industry
  • Global Dairy Agenda for Action, demonstrating the dairy industry's support, work and alignment with the UN's Sustainability Development Goals
  • U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment, which is the U.S. dairy industry's pledge for social and environmental sustainability