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Leading Experts Join Judges Panel of U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards Program

USDA and World Wildlife Fund support effort

Published 10-05-11

Submitted by Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

The U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards program continues to gain support, as the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® today announced that the newly launched awards program will be judged by a panel of experts from academic institutions, USDA, EPA, World Wildlife Fund, media and dairy industry leaders.

In September, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, in affiliation with the Dairy Research Institute®, announced the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards, a new program to recognize dairy farms, businesses and collaborative partnerships for efforts that deliver outstanding economic, environmental and/or social benefit, thus helping advance sustainability of the dairy industry.

The Innovation Center and Dairy Research Institute were established by America’s dairy farmers to foster innovation and research across the industry.

“In the U.S. dairy industry, we have learned that there is incredible power in working together, pre-competitively, through our entire value chain and beyond,” said Paul Rovey, an Arizona dairy producer, member of the judges panel and Chair of Dairy Management Inc™. “This program is a great example of how systemwide collaborative efforts can help dairy secure a bright future, providing healthy products, healthy businesses and a healthy planet to future generations.”

The judges panel brings together leading experts on the economic and environmental issues and opportunities facing the dairy industry today. This varied experience will enable the panel to assess nominations from diverse perspectives as they evaluate and select the winners. All nominations will be evaluated based on the program’s or project’s results as measured by triple bottom-line success - economic, environmental and social. Judges also will assess the potential for adoption of the idea by other dairy farms and businesses; demonstrated learning, innovation and improvement; and scalability.

Judges for the inaugural U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards are:

  • Robert Bonnie, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Environment and Climate, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Jim Carper, Chief Editor, Dairy Foods
  • Dr. Jason Clay, Senior Vice President, Market Transformation, World Wildlife Fund
  • Lawrence Elworth, Agricultural Counselor to the Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Dr. Molly Jahn, Professor, Laboratory of Genetics and Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Larry Jensen, President, Leprino Foods and Chair, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy
  • Matt Kistler, Senior Vice President, Walmart
  • Steve Larson, Managing Editor, Hoard’s Dairyman
  • Dr. James Linn, Department Head, Professor of Dairy Nutrition, University of Minnesota; and President, American Dairy Science Association
  • Joel Makower, Chairman and Executive Editor, Greenbiz Group Inc.
  • Randy Mooney, Dairy Producer and Chairman, National Milk Producers Federation
  • Dr. M. Gatz Riddell, Executive Vice President, American Association of Bovine Practitioners
  • Paul Rovey, Dairy Producer and Chairman, Dairy Management Inc.
  • Connie Tipton, President and Chief Executive Officer, International Dairy Foods Association
  • Dave White, Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA

In addition to the prominence of the judges panel, USDA and World Wildlife Fund have lent their support to the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards. Since 2010, World Wildlife Fund and the Innovation Center have established a transformative partnership to build on each other’s networks, knowledge and experience, with the broader goal of creating a more sustainable dairy industry environmentally, socially and economically.

“We believe that when it comes to big issues such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions or safeguarding our water supply, no individual sector - government, NGO or business - can make as big of a difference working alone as we can working together,” said Dr. Jason Clay, senior vice president, market transformation for World Wildlife Fund. “The U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards highlight the benefits of shared research, technical expertise and best management practices. The success that we are having in our work with the U.S. dairy industry is already attracting attention from groups around the globe that hope to create similar partnerships.”

Greenhouse gas reduction projects under way as part of the Sustainability Commitment are supported in part by funding and shared resources from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS). In particular, NRCS is working with the dairy industry to promote on-farm energy management.

Nominations are being accepted at through Dec. 1, 2011 for the following awards:

  • The Elanco Award for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability
  • The U.S. Dairy Export Council Award for Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability
  • The Center for Advanced Energy Studies/Idaho National Laboratory Award for Outstanding Achievement in Energy

Winners of the inaugural U.S. Dairy Awards will be announced in February 2012 and will be recognized at a special awards ceremony held in Washington D.C. The awards are part of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment, an industrywide effort to measure and improved the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the dairy industry. For more information on the U.S. Dairy Awards Program, visit

Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® is a forum for the dairy industry to work together pre-competitively to address barriers and opportunities to foster innovation and increase sales. The Innovation Center aligns the collective resources of the industry against common priorities to offer consumers nutritious dairy products and ingredients, and promote the health of people, communities, the planet and the industry. The Board of Directors for the Innovation Center includes dairy industry leaders representing key producer organizations, dairy cooperatives, processors, manufacturers and brands. The Innovation Center is staffed by Dairy Management Inc™. Visit for more information about the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

Dairy Research Institute® was established under the leadership of America’s dairy farmers with a commitment to nutrition, product and sustainability research. The Dairy Research Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created to strengthen the dairy industry’s access to and investment in the technical research required to drive innovation and demand for dairy products and ingredients globally. The Institute works with and through industry, academic, government and commercial partners to drive pre-competitive research in nutrition, products and sustainability on behalf of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy®, the National Dairy Council® and other partners. The Dairy Research Institute is primarily funded by the national dairy checkoff program managed by Dairy Management Inc.™

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Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

Through the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, the entire dairy industry - from farm to fridge - is working together to foster innovation and give consumers more of the environmentally friendly products they want, when and where they want them. Through this partnership, the dairy industry can more effectively deliver nutritious dairy foods, beverages and ingredients for the health of people, communities and the earth.

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