Support for Dairy Sustainability Efforts Broadens

New judges and sponsors for U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards reflect importance of working together

ROSEMONT, Ill.--()--The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy®, established under the leadership of dairy farmers, announced today that McDonald’s Corporation has joined the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards program as a new silver-level sponsor in support of U.S. dairy farmers and the industry’s sustainability efforts. Tetra Pak, Inc. also has committed to a second year of sponsorship.

With two new award categories and an expanded judging panel, the 2015 awards program reflects the fact that organizations, from farm to table, are increasingly working together toward a sustainable food system.

The awards, which launched four years ago, recognize outstanding dairy farms, businesses and partnerships for socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound practices. These practices, large and small, are steps that add up to promote the health and well-being of consumers, communities, cows, employees, the planet and business. Nominations are open through Nov. 7, 2014.

“Dairy sustainability is about more than just a carbon footprint. It is about our positive contributions to alleviate hunger, ensure the vitality of our communities, protect natural resources and more,” said Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center. “We are inspired by the powerhouse of thought leaders who also are committed to solving the country’s food, energy and water challenges, and are joining our effort.”

For 2015, gold-level sponsors are: the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, DeLaval, DVO, Inc., Elanco Animal Health, InSinkErator, Tetra Pak, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, World Wildlife Fund and Zoetis. Silver-level sponsors are: the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, ChemTreat, DSM Nutritional Products, HDR, Inc., McDonald’s, Organic Solution Management and Syngenta.

“There are many integrated solutions and new partnerships emerging across the country,” O’Brien said. “No single approach will be able to solve these complex challenges, and we are pleased to provide a program that celebrates success stories and helps bridge the gap from farm to table.”

The judging panel for the 2015 awards includes new experts from food, health and community organizations as well as the return of esteemed experts from academic, government, nongovernment, media, environmental and dairy organizations.

The expanded judging panel reflects the larger role that collaboration plays in building a more sustainable food system, as does the addition of two new awards categories: Outstanding Achievement in Resource Stewardship and Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships. The program also will continue to recognize the “best of the best” with awards for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability and Outstanding Dairy Processing and Manufacturing.

Judges for the 2015 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards are:

1. Deborah Atwood, executive director, AGree

2. Ann Bartuska, deputy under secretary for research, education and economics, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

3. Katie Brown, Ed.D., RDN, LD, national education director, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation

4. Jim Carper, editor-in-chief, Dairy Foods

5. Jason Clay, senior vice president, food and markets, World Wildlife Fund

6. Dan DeGroot, owner, Skyridge Farms and 2013 Sustainability Award winner

7. Jim Dickrell, editor and associate publisher, Dairy Today

8. Debra Eschmeyer, co-founder and vice president of external affairs, FoodCorps, Inc.

9. Susan Forsell, vice president, sustainability, McDonald’s Corporation

10. Craig Frear, assistant professor, Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Washington State University

11. Mike Gallo, chief executive officer, Joseph Gallo Farms and 2014 Sustainability Award winner

12. Molly Jahn, professor, Department of Agronomy, Laboratory of Genetics, and Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, University of Wisconsin-Madison

13. Larry Jensen, chair, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and president, Leprino Foods

14. Phil Lempert, founder,

15. Doug McKalip, senior policy advisor for rural affairs at White House Domestic Policy Council

16. Randy Mooney, dairy farmer and chairman, National Milk Producers Federation

17. Dr. M. Gatz Riddell, Jr., executive vice president, American Association of Bovine Practitioners

18. Paul Rovey, chairman, Dairy Management Inc. and owner, Rovey Dairy

19. Brian Sloboda, senior program manager, Cooperative Research Network, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

20. Connie Tipton, president and chief executive officer, International Dairy Foods Association

21. Jason Weller, chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA

22. Allison Wiedeman, acting agricultural counselor to the administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Judges will evaluate all nominations based on results as measured by economic, environmental and social impact, also known as triple-bottom-line success. They also will assess: the potential for other dairy farms and businesses to adopt the practices; demonstrated learning, innovation and improvement; and scalability.

Winners of the 2015 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards will be announced in April 2015. There is no fee to enter. For more information, to nominate or to view videos of past winners, 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.


For The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy
Joanna Hunter
(312) 379-8450
Elizabeth Hockerman
(262) 938-5565

Release Summary

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy announced new sponsors for the 2015 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards, including McDonald's Corporation, and the judging panel, with experts from farm to table.


For The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy
Joanna Hunter
(312) 379-8450
Elizabeth Hockerman
(262) 938-5565