All In This June Dairy Month

Spring marks one of the busiest seasons for our cooperative. Under the strategic leadership of our executive team, we are helping our members achieve smart growth, taking on additional milk volumes at our plants, finding new customers to purchase finished products, and preparing for important summer member meetings.

Why then would we put out the all-call to our employees to take time away from their “regular” job, and some weekend time, to help plant trees on our local dairy farms?

Because we’re all in at Maryland & Virginia. We know it takes our employees, our member owners (farmers), and our customers to make our communities a better place.

As we kick off the celebrations for June Dairy Month (Today is World Milk Day, by the way!), we celebrate how instrumental our supply chain partnerships have been in bringing sustainability opportunities to our member farms. Those opportunities include funding for meaningful improvements like nutrient management plans, physical structures that reduce run-off and improve animal welfare, and riparian buffers for improving local waterways.

Our sustainability team is armed with lists of technical service providers and contractors, but what if you need a tree planter?  Sure, the member could call local landscaping crews, but then that’s fewer dollars available to that member for something else.Enter the MDVA team.

Dozens of our employees participated in three tree plantings during April’s Earth Month. In total, the volunteer hours tallied over 100 hours and it was estimated to save thousands of dollars. Those savings mean more dollars for sustainability practices for the next farm.

In all, between MDVA and our friends at Giant, who also sourced associate and customer volunteers for two of the three plantings, we saved our members installation dollars, allowing them to redirect funding to projects that improve even more. For example, at J Team Dairy in Orange, Virginia, the volunteer hours by the MDVA employees and other local volunteers will allow the Elgin family to put more dollars into improving a manure waste system, which in turn provides additional environmental benefits by being able to better manage the waste coming from their operation.

What we’re doing on our member farms matters for the future of our dairy farm families and for the communities that we serve with nutritious dairy products. We’ve been evolving together for more than 100 years, and to secure the next 100 we are stepping outside our comfort zone a bit and helping our members make their sustainability goals a reality.  It’s the little things like two hours of planting trees on a Friday that put it all together in the future. It’s our pleasure to work alongside our members to make sure sustainability or being climate-smart doesn’t remain just a buzzword, but rather a pillar of what we do each day.

This June Dairy Month, we’re all in.

Are you?

Photo Credit: Piedmont Environmental Council