“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning.” ─ Benjamin Franklin
The conversation surrounding agriculture, nutrition and sustainability continues to progress and evolve. People have a growing interest in where their food comes from, how it is produced and who produced it. In fact, your clients may have even asked you about these topics.
So we are all on the same page, here is a bit of background. Eight years ago, more than 250 U.S. dairy farmers, companies and dairy stakeholders came together to make a big commitment. They pledged to be leaders in sustainability and strive to provide nutritious dairy foods in a manner that makes farmers, food companies, people and the planet economically, environmentally and socially better. Fast forward to 2015, and they are holding true to that commitment with the progress being illustrated in the recently released 2014 Sustainability Report and accompanying interactive infographic.
Let’s take a visual tour of some highlights:
Did you know a cow has a four-chambered stomach? This unique trait allows them to digest parts of foods and plants that people can’t, like almond hulls or citrus rinds, and unlock the nutrition from them that is ultimately in milk. This benefits cows, humans and has a positive impact on the environment. Rather than being dumped into a landfill, they are being put to beneficial use as feed for cows.
Dairy farmers are stewards of the land. Continuously improving their farming practices helps ensure the soil remains healthy, while the water and air remain clean for generations to come. Great strides have been made in reducing the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and amount of water used to produce a gallon of milk. Many farmers are even turning manure into fuel and/or nutrient-rich fertilizer.
All the care that dairy farmers take with their animals, land and water yields nutrient-packed milk, cheese and yogurt. Did you know that three servings of milk cost less than $1 a day? It’s quite the nutritional value for your clients.
Sadly, not everyone has access to nutrient-rich dairy foods, especially those who rely on food banks. Milk is one of the most highly requested foods by Feeding America network food banks, but 95 percent of them do not receive enough milk to meet clients’ needs. Strides are being made to help close this gap. Thanks to efforts made by dairy farmers, milk companies and other generous partners, initiatives like the Great American Milk Drive have helped provide milk to families in need.
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse at the exciting things dairy farmers are doing in the sustainable nutrition arena!