#Dairy Farmers Committed to Sustainability for the Long Haul

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We’ve all heard the old adage, “actions speak louder than words.” When it comes to questions from consumers about dairy sustainability, the team at Golden Oaks Farm in Wauconda, Ill. can certainly show for the initiatives in place at their operation. I recently had a chance to tour Golden Oaks with members of theInnovation Center for U.S. Dairy Sustainability Council and saw first-hand their commitment to their cows, community and employees, as well as the environment.
Being located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, the farm is acutely aware of their role in the community and the value of the land they steward. Despite facing the challenges caused by the summer’s drought, Tom Patterson, president of Golden Oaks Farm and Nate Janssen, the farm’s operations manager, still see the value of the dairy industry’s sustainability commitment.
“When we evaluate on-farm decisions, we want to use the best management practices,” Janssen said. “They might cost a little bit more upfront, but in the end they pay off because by doing things the right way, we’ll be here for a long time.”
By improving nutrition management and increasing production efficiencies dairy farmers already have reduced their carbon footprint by 63 percent since 1944, according to research conducted by Cornell University. In fact, producing milk is far more efficient, requiring 90 percent less cropland and 65 percent less water than it did back then.
During our tour, the duo pointed out best practices in place — like composting, manure management and reusing sand bedding —not only at Golden Oaks, but at other farms across the country to help further improve dairy’s environmental footprint.
While visiting the milking center at Golden Oaks, Janssen also explained the multiple ways water is recycled on the dairy. Milk coming from the cow starts out at 98 degrees Fahrenheit and must be cooled to approximately 36 degrees Fahrenheit before being hauled to the processor. Water is used to help with the cooling process and is then recycled multiple times in the barn including drinking water for the cows, sprinklers to help with cooling the cows and also in separating sand (which is used, and subsequently reused, for bedding). The water is also used for cleaning purposes throughout the operation.
To ensure a successful and sustainable future, Patterson and Janssen have already identified opportunities for further improvement including conducting an energy audit and evaluating lighting efficiencies.
Golden Oaks Farm is not alone in their commitment to sustainability, as farms nationwide are using best management practices to both save money and reduce their environmental footprint.
Dairy Good

Mirá También

Así lo expresó Domingo Possetto, secretario de la seccional Rafaela, quien además, afirmó que a los productores «habitualmente los ignoran los gobiernos». Además, reconoció la labor de los empresarios de las firmas locales y aseguró que están «esperanzados» con la negociación entre SanCor y Adecoagro.

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