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Experts appointed to judges' panel for U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards

Diverse panel includes leaders in dairy, agriculture and environment

Published 10-11-12

Submitted by Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy®, established under the leadership of dairy farmers, today announced the blue-ribbon judging panel for the second annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards. The U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards program recognizes dairy farms, businesses and collaborative partnerships for their contributions to healthy people, healthy products and a healthy planet. Nominations are open to all dairy farms and businesses, from farm to table, through Nov. 15, 2012.

“More than ever before, it is important for the public to understand the dairy industry’s commitment to sustainability, and why consumers can be confident about choosing their favorite dairy foods and beverages,” said Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “We are thrilled with the level of support we have received from within and outside the industry — not only for the awards program, but for all of our efforts to foster innovation and identify solutions to create a more sustainable food system.”

Dairy producers have a long history of caring for the land, air and water. Compared with 1944, the dairy industry today produces more milk using 90 percent less cropland, 76 percent less manure, 65 percent less water and 63 percent less carbon.

The panel of judges — which includes experts from academic institutions, government, dairy science organizations, nongovernmental organizations and media as well as environmental and dairy industry leaders — brings together a diverse group with insights on the economic and environmental realities facing the dairy industry today.

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

  • Robert Bonnie, senior advisor for Environment and Climate, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Jim Carper, chief editor, Dairy Foods
  • Jason Clay, senior vice president, Market Transformation, World Wildlife Fund
  • Larry Elworth, agriculture counselor to the administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • Molly Jahn, professor, Laboratory of Genetics and Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Larry Jensen, chair, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and president, Leprino Foods
  • Steve Larson, managing editor, Hoard's Dairyman
  • James Linn, professor, Department of Animal Science, University of Minnesota and past, past president American Dairy Science Association
  • Joel Makower, chairman and executive editor, GreenBiz Group Inc.
  • Randy Mooney, dairy producer and chairman, National Milk Producers Federation
  • Gatz Riddell, executive vice president, American Association of Bovine Practitioners
  • Paul Rovey, chairman, Dairy Management Inc.™ and owner, Rovey Dairy
  • Brian Sloboda, senior program manager, Cooperative Research Network, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
  • Connie Tipton, president and chief executive officer, International Dairy Foods Association
  • Dave White, chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA

The panel also includes two winners from the inaugural awards program in 2012:

  • Mike Brubaker, dairy producer, Brubaker Farms
  • Steve Rowe, senior vice president and general counsel, Darigold

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.

Adding their support to the Sustainability Commitment and the Sustainability Awards program are this year’s gold- and silver-level sponsors. Gold sponsors include the Center for Advanced Energy Studies/Idaho National Laboratory, DeLaval, DVO Anaerobic Digesters, Elanco, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, MilkPEP, Pfizer Animal Health and World Wildlife Fund. Silver-level sponsors include Dolphin WaterCare, quasar energy group, Syngenta and U.S. Dairy Export Council®.

The awards program is part of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment, an industrywide effort to measure and improve the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the dairy industry. Since its launch in 2008, the Sustainability Commitment has gained the support and participation of more than 830 professionals across the industry as well as others from academic, government and nongovernmental organizations.

In addition to the Sustainability Awards, the Innovation Center has developed multiple resources to help dairy farms and businesses across the dairy value chain measure and communicate their sustainability efforts with authenticity, credibility and transparency. Carbon footprint calculators, research findings and case studies are available at, and a Sustainability Framework is in development that will help the industry and its customers communicate consistently about sustainability.

Winners of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards will be announced in April 2013. There is no fee to enter. For more information or to nominate, go to

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.

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Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® is a leadership forum that brings together the dairy community and third parties to address the changing needs and expectations of consumers and customers. Initiated in 2008 by dairy farmers through the dairy checkoff, Innovation Center leaders and members collaborate on important areas like the environment, nutrition and health, animal care, food safety, and community contributions. Through the Innovation Center, the U.S. dairy community demonstrates its commitment to continuous improvement from farm to table, striving to ensure a socially responsible and economically viable dairy community.

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