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By Dean Strauss, WMMB Board Member - District 18
Majestic Crossing Dairy, Sheboygan Falls, WI

WMMBDairy has a social and economic impact on our State. It's our legacy and our livelihood, providing jobs to tens of thousands. While many industries are shipping jobs overseas, Wisconsin's dairy industry is still growing and thriving. To continue this path, we need to make sure we are good neighbors and remain economically and environmentally sustainable.

Dairy farmers want to be a part of the solution when managing manure and other key environmental factors facing the dairy industry. On our farm, and like many farmers, we like to be on the cutting edge of innovation. It is truly a collaborative effort when working together with agencies, companies, academia and our communities. For us, this collaborative sustainability effort has been rewarding as we have installed a state-of-the-art manure digester. This system is using manure even more efficiently by recycling the liquid from the manure into clean useable water to be used on the farm, as fertilizer for our crops, and biogas that we can use to power generators and more.

The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board has been a sponsor of UW Discovery Farms from the beginning over 12 years ago as a way to support the environmentally sound farming practices of all types of farming. The Discovery Farms mission is to develop on-farm and related research to determine the economic and environmental effects of agricultural practices on a diverse group of Wisconsin farms.

Not only does UW Discovery Farms conduct research but they also educate and improve communications among the agricultural community, consumers, researchers and policymakers to better identify and implement effective environmental management practices that are compatible with profitable agriculture.

If you would like to learn more about this farmer lead organization or would like to get involved visit www.uwdiscoveryfarms.org for more information.

Not only is WMMB involved with the UW Discovery Farms, our checkoff program also recognizes the efforts of dairy farmers across Wisconsin who have sound conservation practices and sustainable management through its support of the Leopold Conservation Award. This award honors Wisconsin landowner's achievements in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources and recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation.

It is truly inspiring to see that this year's finalists are dairy farmers. Even though their farming practices are different, they are making environmentally sound decisions on their farms. If you, or someone you know, is a Wisconsin landowner who is committed to land management practices that increase conservation, please take some time and learn more about the Sand County Foundation and the Leopold Conservation Award at leopoldconservationaward.org.

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9.07.2016