Sustainability

Maryland & Virginia members are known across the industry as being progressive champions for sustainability. Our cooperative supports socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound dairy farm practices. Our practices aim to promote the current and future health and well-being of our cows, our consumers, our communities, our employees, our farmers and our planet.

Since 2018, our cooperative has earned more than $10 Million for sustainability on our member farms.

Our member farms are family farms — they care for their herd, their land and their future for the next generation. Sustainability remains important to them in order to ensure that generations of their family can continue the legacy and bring dairy goodness to tables across our milkshed for decades to come.

Our Latest Successes

The Landis Family in Pennsylvania use multiple Best Management Practices, including cover cropping, waste management and have put up new calf and heifer barns. The new calf and heifer barns help minimize run-off, improve water quality and ensure proper animal care.

Regional Conservation Partnership Program

In May 2021, the National Reources Conservation Service (NRCS) awarded $4 million to Maryland & Virginia and its partners at the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Turkey Hill Dairy for improvement and implementation of land management conservation measures on farms in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

The grant will help the Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership (THCWP) to expand its goal of creating a supply-chain driven model for better water quality throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, which shares much of its area with the Maryland & Virginia milkshed.

Read more about the Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership below. 

Giant Clean Water Partnership Launch

The Giant Clean Water Partnership (GCWP) kicked off in late 2020. So far, we have held tree plantings on two member farms in Maryland in October 2020 and March 2021. 

The plantings help create natural buffers between farmland and small creeks.

As part of its Giant Cares series, Giant Food visited one of the farms to see how small action miles upstream can make a huge difference.

Farmers Assuring Responsible Management

FARM Program

Each of our member farms is required to meet or exceed the standards set in the Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program.

The FARM program is an initiative to help assure customers and consumers that dairy farmers are creating high-quality and nutritious milk in the most sustainable ways possible. The program covers three main areas of best practices for producers to implement: Animal Care, Environmental Stewardship and Workforce Development. 

Animal Care

The Animal Care Program is the cornerstone of the FARM Program. The program outlines industry accepted best management practices that farmers must follow for every cow and calf on the farm. Each of our farms undergo evaluations of cow care and health and has regular contact with veterinarians as part of the program.

Animal Care

The Animal Care Program is the cornerstone of the FARM Program. The program outlines industry accepted best management practices that farmers must follow for every cow and calf on the farm. Each of our farms undergo evaluations of cow care and health and has regular contact with veterinarians as part of the program.

Environmental Stewardship

Our FARM Environmental Stewardship assessments estimate greenhouse gas emissions, measure energy use on dairy farms and provide individualized tools and resources for farmers to measure and improve their environmental footprint. Each year Maryland & Virginia’s trained FARM evaluators complete a specified number of Environmental Assessments on member farms to achieve a statistical sampling sufficient for measuring the carbon and energy footprint of our milk supply.

Workforce Development

Maryland & Virginia is proud to have been one of the first cooperatives involved with establishing the FARM Workforce Development program. Our farm families employ more than 1,500 workers at an average of 1-5 per farm. Developing the people who provide year-round excellent cow care and produce wholesome milk is a top priority. Our Workforce Development assessments offer guidance and best management practices around human resources, health, and safety.

Our Partnerships

Giant Clean Water Partnership

Together, with our partners at the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Giant Food, we are supporting our dairy farmers throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed to improve land and water quality through the Giant Clean Water Partnership (GCWP). The improvements don’t stop at our natural resources. The conservation practices funded through this partnership improve animal health, leading to higher quality dairy goodness, and ensures farm sustainability for generations to come.

The GCWP further solidifies our commitment to the region and positions our brand, Maola Milk, as the leading sustainable milk brand for families in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership

The Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership (THCWP) kicked off in 2018 after a year of planning and coordination between the three partners: Maryland & Virginia, Turkey Hill Dairy and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. 

The Partnership assists members in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed with sustainability goals and conservation plans. The support of our members comes from grant funding available to partnerships like the THCWP and allows them to implement best management practices and accompanying physical constructions or equipment. 

Some of the projects already completed within the THCWP framework include modern housing for calves and heifers, waste management constructions to keep manure from waterways and implementation of land management plans.

Our Awards

U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award Winner

In 2020, the Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership earned the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy’s Outstanding Supply Chain Collaboration Award at the 2020 edition of the Center’s Sustainability Awards. 

The award recognizes innovative projects and collaborative partnerships that have outstanding economic, environmental, and social benefits, and that serve as a replicable model to inform and inspire others in advancing dairy sustainability leadership. 

The awarding of this honor is a testament to Maryland & Virginia’s commitment to the Net Zero Initiative that the dairy industry has adopted. 

 

Our Commitment

Sustainability Efforts

In 2020, we joined with cooperatives from across the country to begin working towards carbon neutral status for the entire dairy industry by 2050. 

Through the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, cooperatives will work with industry partners, customers and consumers to help reach these new industry-wide 2050 environmental goals:

  • Become carbon neutral or better by 2050
  • Optimize water use while maximizing recycling
  • Improve water quality by optimizing utilization of manure and nutrients

Maryland & Virginia also supports the Net Zero Initiative, an industry-wide effort to reduce on-farm environmental impacts I and will work with industry partners to bring technology, resources and expert knowledge to our membership.

“The dairy industry is committed to working in a responsible manner and investing in the future of our farms and our communities. At Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative, we see dairy as an environmental solution and have embraced the challenge of being Net Zero by 2050. This commitment starts at the farm level. We have forged partnerships with customers, environmental conservation organizations and others to provide the needed technical support and resources to implement environmental best management practices on our member farms. This type of partnership and investment across the supply chain is necessary for the dairy industry to reach our ambitious goals. We welcome the challenge.”

Jay Bryant, CEO Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative