Kinnard Farms won a U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award at an awards ceremony in Chicago on June 28 for their innovative ways to maximize water, soil and cow comfort while supporting their rural community. Left to right are family members David and Jackie Stewart, Lee Kinnard, and Matt Nuckols, event M.C. and Virginia dairy producer.

ROSEMONT, Ill. —The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy®, established under the leadership of dairy farmers, announced its sixth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards in a June 28 Chicago ceremony. The program recognizes dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose practices improve the well-being of people, animals and the planet. Kinnard Farms, Casco, won a national award for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability. The farm was one of three national winners in their category.

Award winners represent the U.S. dairy community’s voluntary efforts towards continuous improvement in sustainability. “This year’s winners devised new ways to protect our land, air and water. And they’re proactive about building strong relationships with their communities and employees,” said Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “Throughout the dairy value chain, all sizes of dairy farms and companies use sustainable practices because it’s good for the environment, good for their community and good for business.”

Judges evaluated nominations based on their economic, environmental and community impact. The independent judging panel — including experts working with and throughout the dairy community — also considered learning, innovation, scalability and replicability.

The award announcement recognized the Kinnard Family for their innovative ways to maximize water, soil and cow comfort while supporting their rural community. “They retain the area’s young, college-educated residents by employing them to innovate farm technology. The Kinnards are often on the cutting edge; they made a first-of-its-kind sand recycling center—one that uses no freshwater in the process—to separate, wash and dry sand for repeated use. Sand is this farm’s preferred bedding material because it provides comfort and sure footing for cows and is bacteria free, keeping udders healthy.”

“The Kinnard family is dedicated to continuous improvement in cow comfort and soil health, allowing them to grow the farm sustainably and preserve their rural community’s agricultural roots,” said Chad Frahm, senior vice president, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “We commend them for their impressive practices.”

According to Nathan Nysse, a senior agronomist with Tilth Agronomy, who nominated the farm for the award, “Kinnard Farms takes a responsible approach to farming, keeping social, economic and environmental impacts top-of-mind. The Kinnard Family remains focused on maintaining soil quality and health and keeping their land in crop production for a long period of time, while protecting our surface and groundwater. The family owners have strong values, personal integrity and a willingness to exceed regulations to make sure their dairy farm is good for the people and the planet.”

The additional winners in the Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability category were SwissLane Farms, Alto, Michigan, and Rickreall Dairy, Rickreall, Oregon. Additional winners in other categories included

  • Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing SustainabilityGlanbia Nutritionals, Evanston, Illinois
  • Outstanding Achievement in Resource Stewardship – Kellercrest Registered Holsteins, Inc., Mount Horeb, Wisconsin
  • Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships – Oakland View Farms & Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, Caroline City, Maryland

Honorable Mentions included:

  • Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, The Kroger Co. of Michigan, Michigan Milk Producers Association and Michigan State University Extension, Novi, Michigan
  • S. Dairy Education & Training Consortium Extension, College Station, Texas
  • Mercer Vu Farms, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania

From farm to table, transparency and ingenuity drive dairy forward, as demonstrated in the newly released 2016 Sustainability Report, which describes the Innovation Center’s first-ever strategic plan focused on social responsibility. This was developed by dairy community leaders in anticipation of the consumer landscape’s increasing pressures around health, environmental impacts and ethical practices—something dairy farmers factor into the decisions they make on their farm every day.

About the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment

The U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards program is supported by generous sponsors. This year’s sponsors are: DeLaval, Elanco, Syngenta and World Wildlife Fund.

The 2016 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Report is the sixth progress report published by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy to update stakeholders on the progress of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment, an industry wide effort to measure and improve the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the dairy community.

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Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® is a forum for the dairy industry to work together pre-competitively to address barriers and opportunities to foster innovation and increase sales. The Innovation Center aligns the collective resources of the industry to offer consumers nutritious dairy products and ingredients, and promote the health of people, communities, the planet and the industry. The Board of Directors for the Innovation Center includes dairy industry leaders representing key farmer organizations, dairy cooperatives, companies, manufacturers and brands. The Innovation Center is staffed by Dairy Management Inc. Visit for more information about the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy