Madison, Wis. (May 8, 2019) — Wisconsin dairy farmer Dean Strauss, Majestic Crossing Dairy
, won a national award for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability at the eighth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award
ceremony on May 8th in Rosemont, Illinois. The Wisconsin dairy farm was one of three national winners in their category.
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, established under the leadership of dairy farmers and leading companies, 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.
Judges evaluated dozens of 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.
"We had many high-quality entries and winners who make sustainable practices a priority in their own operations," added one of this year's judges, Suzy Friedman, senior director of agricultural sustainability at Environmental Defense Fund. "Even better, their leadership can spark positive change across other parts of the dairy industry with practices that can be replicated."
The 2,000 cows at Majestic Crossing Dairy are the result of a unique strategic shift when co-owner Dean Strauss began building a herd of crossbreeds. The cows are typically smaller, requiring less food and producing less manure. Strauss has adopted a GPS guidance system on his tractors and other machinery that helps identify efficiencies in seed distribution as well as reducing fuel, pesticide and fertilizer use on the 3,600 acres of crops grown to feed the cows. Majestic Crossing Dairy also invested in robotic milking machines that have reduced the farm's water use by 30 percent, or about 20 gallons per cow each day.
"We are humbled and honored to receive this award," said Dean Strauss. "In 2011, four families that had been dairy farming in the area for generations came together to form Majestic Crossing Dairy. This partnership has allowed us to support all four families, expand our sustainability efforts, and invest back in our community. Our commitment begins with taking excellent care of our land and our animals."
The dairy participates in the FARM Program Animal Care and has recently completed the FARM Program Environmental Stewardship module to show customers and consumers that the dairy industry is taking the very best care of cows and the environment, producing safe, wholesome milk and adhering to the highest standards of workforce development.
"Majestic Crossing Dairy is one of the most innovative and groundbreaking dairies in Wisconsin," noted Shelly Mayer, executive director of Professional Dairy Producers, who submitted the nomination. "The dairy believes in keeping an open mind on new practices."
The farm encourages its owners and employees to take time for their families and community activities. Dean is a board member of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, serves on the Executive Board for the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin Board, financial secretary of his church, serves on the township Farmland Preservation Committee and is past chair of the Dairy Policy Committee for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau.
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, Syngenta, USDA and World Wildlife Fund.
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 on Facebook.
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 – issues like animal care, food safety, nutrition and health, the environment and economics. 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.
Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin
8418 Excelsior Dr.
Madison, WI 53717