The Innovation Center said it started the awards as a way to bring the dairy community together and advance the industry’s shared social responsibility. Four categories will honor those using “socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound practices.”
The Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability category specifically recognizes farmers for ‘continuous improvement in dairy production’ and ‘practices that demonstrate economic, environmental or social benefits.’
A holistic approach to sustainability, on-farm dairy leadership advancements and positive industry change will be rewarded in this category, according to the Innovation Center.
The Outstanding Dairy Processing and Manufacturing Sustainability award is new for 2020, and looks for producers that ‘innovate, measure and communicate progress within the triple bottom line of sustainability.’
A Community Impact award will honor those in the dairy space “that improve lives and communities through positive impacts on health and wellness, hunger relief, workforce development, community volunteering and investment, or environmental stewardship.”
The development of practical and effective solutions for community challenges and goals will be crucial in this category.
In Supply Chain Collaboration, the winner will succeed at collaborative and market-based partnerships that generate industry-wide sustainable outcomes. The Innovation Center emphasized the importance of customer engagement through farms and cooperatives as examples of sustainable dairy supply chains.
Other criteria for those nominated include agreement to any assessment for validation of the submitted information and a willingness to share the submission with the public. Farms also must be enrolled in the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the FARM Animal Care Program and have a current state milk permit.
Nominated processors must source 100% of their US market milk from cooperatives and farmers enrolled in the FARM Animal Care Program. Customers and community partners must have one member involved with the US dairy industry and meet the farm or processor criteria.
The nomination period is open online through November 15 with no entry fee. The Innovation Center said, “All farms, companies and organizations involved in US dairy and engaged in collaborative and sustainable dairy-related practices are eligible to submit nominations.”
The awards ceremony will take place at the Dairy Sustainability Forum in Chicago in April 2020. Winners will receive an expenses-paid trip to attend the forum and ceremony, and will also be featured in a case study “to share insights and lessons learned with industry peers.”
In spring 2019, three winners were chosen for Dairy Farm Sustainability, two for Supply Chain Collaboration and one for Community Impact.