DFA member recognized for sustainability efforts

Written by Emily Battmer
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The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy announced the winners of the fourth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards on May 7 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. DFA member Oregon Dairy Farm in Lititz, Pa., was among the winners in the Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability category.

Oregon Dairy, operated by the Hurst family, provides a farm-to-fork experience that incorporates sustainable practices through every step of the process. Food waste and cow manure is composted to produce a rich source of nutrients sold to gardeners, and solar panels on the farm’s grocery store roof provide 10 percent of the store’s electricity needs. The family also operates an anaerobic digester that helps capture methane gas from manure to make electricity.

In addition, the Hurst family practices no-till farming to improve soil conditions and reduce sediment runoff into creeks and streams. Native trees and perennials are placed near the stream to reduce runoff and provide habitat for pollinators. These efforts help conserve the water quality of the nearby Chesapeake Bay, something the Hursts have focused on since touring the bay and learning about the effects of poor water quality 20 years ago. 

“We have an obligation to care for the land, air and water,” says George Hurst, second-generation Oregon Dairy farmer.

George operates the farm in partnership with his son Chad and his daughter and son-in-law Maria and Tim Forry. The 450-cow dairy’s ice cream parlor, grocery store and award-winning restaurant are community staples, and the family welcomes more than 15,000 visitors a year to the farm.

The U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards recognize outstanding dairy farms, businesses and partnerships for practices that focus on the environment and promote the health and wellbeing of consumers, communities, cows, employees, the planet and business. The awards program is part of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment, an industry-wide effort to measure and improve the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the dairy industry.

Congratulations to Oregon Dairy and all the other U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award winners. The 2015 winners are:

Outstanding Achievement in Resource Stewardship

  • Freund’s Farm, East Canaan, Conn.
  • Honorable mention: T-Bar Dairy and White Gold Dairy, Porterville, Calif.

Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability

  • Dorrich Dairy, Glenwood, Minn.
  • Nobis Dairy Farms, St. Johns, Mich.
  • Oregon Dairy Farm, Lititz, Pa.
  • Honorable mention: Alliance Dairies, Trenton, Fla.

Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability

  • Hilmar Cheese Company, Hilmar, Calif.

Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships

  • HP Hood LLC and CleanWorld, Sacramento, Calif.
  • Honorable mention: Northern Illinois Food Bank and Prairie Farms Dairy, Geneva, Ill.