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 $11 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 Awards

2021

Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability

Maryland & Virginia members Dave and Marie Graybill were honored with a U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability in November 2021. 

Dave and Marie have implemented more than 30 sustainability practices on their farm, including contour farming, buffer strips and enhanced waste storage. 

A rough assessment of the dairy’s no-till, cover crop, and nutrient management practices shows reduced annual losses of 2,443 pounds of nitrogen, 116 pounds of phosphorus and 255,000 pounds total of suspended solids.

2020

Outstanding Supply Chain Collaboration Award

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 sustainability initiatives that the dairy industry has undertaken. 

Our Latest Successes

Funds Awarded to Maryland Farmers for Manure Technologies

Sustainable Chesapeake, alongside the Giant Clean Water Partnership, was today awarded $725,267 from the 2021 Maryland Department of Agriculture Animal Waste Technology Fund. The funding will allow Maryland dairy farmers to expand the adoption of high priority conservation practices through industry-led supply-chain sustainability initiatives.

The funding was jointly awarded to Sustainable Chesapeake, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative (MDVA), The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and Giant Food, the latter three of whom make up the Giant Clean Water Partnership. The project, titled Industry-Led Innovations in Dairy Manure Management, will demonstrate the potential for manure injection and advanced solid separation technologies that allow farmers to improve nutrient use efficiency and avoid loss of valuable manure nutrients to critical waters draining within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

$1 Million Conservation Grant will Benefit Virginia Dairy Farmers

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, in partnership with Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative (MDVA), was awarded $1 million in June 2021 to begin supporting farmers of Maola Local Dairies in Virginia with on-the-ground conservation practices.

Funding is awarded by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation through the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grant Program. The funding will be maximized through a strategic public-private partnership which includes MDVA, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and Giant.

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. 

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 Commitment

Sustainability Efforts

In 2020, we joined with cooperatives from across the country to begin working towards greenhouse gas neutrality for the 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:

  • Achieve greenhouse gas neutrality
  • 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