The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy announced Wednesday it is now accepting nominations for the 2015 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards.
The awards recognize outstanding dairy farms, businesses and partnerships for socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound practices. These practices, large and small, are steps that add up to promote the health and well-being of consumers, communities, cows, employees, the planet and business.
In its fourth year, the awards program will feature two new categories: Outstanding Achievement in Resource Stewardship and Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships.
"These two categories recognize the increasingly systemic and collaborative approaches we are seeing to food, energy and water security challenges in communities across the country," said Barbara O'Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. "The winning stories will show how innovation and improvements sparked by one farm, one person or one organization can have a ripple effect that goes well beyond their farm gate or front door."
Nominations are open through Nov. 7, 2014, to all segments of the U.S. dairy value chain — from farm to table — for the following categories:
• (New) Outstanding Achievement in Resource Stewardship: Recognizes dairy operations (both on and off the farm) that have measurable success in managing their resources with optimal efficiency and quality. Successful nominations have implemented efficiencies or innovations in areas such as energy, water and soil conservation, manure and waste management, and/or renewable energy generation.
• (New) Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships: Recognizes collaborations (both on and off the farm) to improve lives and communities through their positive impacts on child health and wellness, hunger relief and/or environmental stewardship. Successful nominations will demonstrate instances where organizations collaborate with other stakeholders to develop practical and effective solutions to shared challenges and goals.
• Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability: Recognizes three farms that serve as examples of socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound dairy production. Successful nominees take a holistic approach to sustainability and provide replicable results that can inspire greater industrywide change.
• Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability: Recognizes dairy processors and manufacturers whose businesses exemplify the triple bottom line of sustainability. Successful nominees have demonstrated both measurable progress and corporate commitment.
"There are incredible efforts underway by farmers, processors and brands that are changing the way we think about producing, processing and delivering the nutritious dairy products consumers love," said Paul Rovey, chairman of Dairy Management Inc. "We encourage dairy farms and businesses to nominate themselves, their business partners or their neighbors so that we can tell the great story of dairy stewardship both within the industry and directly to consumers."
Winner benefits >>
The 2015 winners will receive:
• A trip to Washington, D.C., in April 2015 for the awards ceremony provided by this year's sponsors
• National and local recognition of their stories and passion for sustainability
• A featured case study on USDairy.com/Sustainability to share insights and lessons learned with industry peers
• Opportunities to work with others in the industry, helping to advance sustainability
The awards are part of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment, an industrywide effort to understand and communicate about dairy sustainability, demonstrate progress, create long-term economic growth and build consumer trust.
An independent panel of judges will evaluate all nominations based on measurable results and the potential for other dairy farms and businesses to adopt the practices; demonstrated learning, innovation and improvement; and scalability.
This year's gold-level sponsors include: the Center for Advanced Energy Studies; DeLaval; DVO Anaerobic Digesters; Elanco Animal Health; InSinkErator; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; World Wildlife Fund and Zoetis. Silver-level sponsors include ChemTreat; DSM Nutritional Products; HDR; Organic Solution Management; and Syngenta.
The deadline for applications is Nov. 7, 2014. There is no fee to enter. For more information, visit the 2015 Dairy Sustainability Award webpage.