April 22 2020 03:15 PM

Healthy Cows, Environment Are Focus of Wisconsin Dairy

The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.

L to R:Jordan Matthews, Tim Strobel, Lloyd Holterman and Daphne Holterman

A Wisconsin dairy farm, Rosy-Lane Holsteins, is the winner of a national award for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability. The ninth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards were announced on April 22 in recognition of Earth Day. The Watertown farm is owned by Lloyd and Daphne Holterman and their partners Tim Strobel and Jordan Matthews and is one of three national winners in its category.

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, established under the leadership of dairy farmers, recognizes dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose practices improve the well-being of people, animals and the planet. The award winners represent dairy’s commitment to sustainability, demonstrating how transparency and ingenuity lead to sustainable and scalable practices that benefit their businesses, communities and the environment.

“Rosy-Lane Holsteins exemplifies our industry’s commitment to sustainability. They demonstrate that caring for the environment, our cows and our communities is what dairy farmers stand for every day,” said Patrick Geoghegan, executive vice president industry relations for Dairy Farmer of Wisconsin. “These are the stories that are important to today’s consumer and matter to the future of our industry.”

Rosy-Lane’s emphasis on cow health started with incorporating cattle genetic technologies more than 25 years ago, breeding cows that live longer and are less susceptible to disease and illness. Genetics also helps the farm work toward its goal of producing 1.7 pounds of milk for every 1 pound of feed for the milking herd. The average U.S. dairy farm attains about1.5, according to Cornell University.

Another benefit of Rosy-Lane's genetics program is the farm has not used antibiotics on its milking herd for more than seven years and a veterinarian is rarely called to treat a sick animal.

“It’s really no different than a family of humans that live a long, healthy life,” said Lloyd Holterman. “Good genetics allow us to have a healthy family of cows that has the ability to ward off illness and disease. The breeding decisions we made have paid off.”

The dairy’s commitment to sustainability is ingrained in the farm’s everyday philosophy with its 20 employees.

“We’re strong on setting protocols about the environment, our cows and our people, and then making sure everyone is in alignment,” Daphne Holterman said. “As a team, we work to get better every day.”

The farm’s environmental stewardship is evident through several examples. Water is used three times before it is mixed with cow manure and applied to fields to nourish the alfalfa and corn crops that feed the cows. The farm added the infrastructure to store and process corn at the farm, minimizing waste and the need for it to be hauled in from outside the dairy.

“Numerous dairy farmers are deserving of recognition for a commitment to sustainability. Rosy-Lane is a clear standout among them. Daphne, Lloyd, Tim and Jordan and the rest of their team epitomize the dedication of farmers to their animals, their employees, their community and our natural resources. And, with all they have achieved, their passion to continuously improve is as strong as ever,” said Tim Trotter, executive director of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, who submitted the nomination. “We could not be prouder to be associated with such an extraordinary representative of the dairy community.”

The team hosts an average of two tours per week where they explain their sustainability efforts in layman's terms. Every tour ends with cheese from Saputo, where the farm’s milk is shipped, to help connect the dots from farm to fork. The farm is also host to hundreds of international visitors during World Dairy Expo and throughout the year.

Rosy-Lane Holsteins is a member of the local Chamber of Commerce, and team members are often asked to speak to local and international groups to share their philosophies and accomplishments.

Judges evaluated dozens of nominations based on 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 in every nomination.

About the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment

Generous sponsors support the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards program. This year’s sponsors include DeLaval, Phibro Animal Health and USDA.

Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® is a forum that brings together the dairy community to address the changing needs and expectations of consumers through a framework of shared best practices and accountability. Initiated in 2008 by dairy farmers through the dairy checkoff, we collaborate on efforts that are important both to us and our valued customers – priorities like animal care, environmental stewardship, food safety and traceability and community contribution. The Innovation Center is committed to continuous improvement from farm to table, striving to ensure a socially responsible and economically viable dairy community.Visit USDairy.com for more information about the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

About Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin: Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin exists to be a tireless advocate, marketer, and promoter for Wisconsin dairy farmers and to drive demand for Wisconsin's dairy products. The organization represents Wisconsin farm families and works to increase the sale and consumption of Wisconsin milk and dairy products, as well as build trust in dairy farmers and the industry. Organizational initiatives include generating national publicity, managing digital advertising, and driving sales, distribution and trial through retail and foodservice promotions. Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin also supports in-school education about the benefits of dairy and funding for the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For more information, visit wisconsindairy.org and follow us on Facebook.