Two California Dairy Families Earn Prestigious National Awards for Sustainable Practices

Across California, dairy families work daily to protect natural resources and raise healthy animals to produce the quality dairy products consumers expect. Earlier this month, two California dairy families were recognized with distinguished U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy for their exceptional commitment to sustainable practices.

Steve Maddox

Steve Maddox, accepting the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award for Outstanding Dairy Farm.

Maddox Dairy Farms, Riverdale, California “Outstanding Dairy Farm in Sustainability” award winner

Maddox Dairy Farms has long been a leader and early adopter of sustainable dairy farming practices in California. Key to their success has been active participation in on-farm research in the areas of animal well-being and husbandry, nutrient management, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. This 56-year commitment to research has not only improved the sustainability footprint of their own farm, but has also contributed to the overall sustainability and health of the California and U.S. dairy community.

Maddox Dairy Farms has long embraced innovation, looking for new technologies to help improve the efficiency of their family dairy farm. They were among the first to build a freestall dairy barn with a drive-through center alley more than 25 years ago, a set-up commonly found on today’s modern dairies. The Maddox family also values educating the public about dairy farming and how food makes it way from farm to table. Over the past 30 years, Maddox Dairy Farms has had more than 90,000 visitors tour their farm.

Today, their innovative attitude is alive and well, evidenced by the recent installation of a 1.3 megawatt solar project on their farm. This project meets approximately 87 percent of the electricity needs of the dairy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 800 tons each year – the equivalent of removing more than 170 cars from the roadway.

Maddox Dairy Farms also employs innovative technology to bring water to their crops, utilizing two dual-fuel engines on irrigation pumps. The engine runs on a mix of diesel and propane, cutting their diesel consumption by half and fuel costs by 25 percent. The investment is also a win for the environment, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality.

Mike Gallo

Mike Gallo, accepting the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award for Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing.

Joseph Gallo Farms, Atwater, California “Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing in Sustainability” award winner
For more than 65 years, Joseph Gallo Farms has been an industry pioneer with an enduring commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. From their beginning as a small family farm in 1946, Joseph Gallo Farms has grown to become a leader in sustainable farming and cheese making. Forging numerous partnerships with local, state, and national organizations, the Gallo family has worked hard to preserve the local environment’s natural heritage through wildlife compatible farming and resource conservation.

Joseph Gallo Farms is known as an early adopter in a number of areas, including the use of renewable energy. In 2003, the Gallo family built a manure digester and co-generation system, significantly reducing their dependence on fossil-based fuels and improving their carbon footprint. The digester powers the cheese plant using green energy and also delivers renewable green energy back into the local utility’s power grid.

This innovative project was one of the first in California and is still the largest and longest-operating system of its kind. The project’s success has helped further the science of renewable energy, and has led other businesses, investors and regulators to realize the tremendous environmental and economic potential these systems possess.

Gallo’s commitment to sustainability also includes a strong water conservation program. Reclamation of 100 percent of their cheese plant effluent for reuse on the farm to flush barn lanes and irrigate crops results in the conservation of 2 million gallons of water daily. This practice, combined with accepting up to 10 million gallons of storm- and wastewater each day from local communities to use for irrigation, helps the cheese plant conserve nearly 3 billion gallons of water each year.

Dairy Cares members applaud the tremendous accomplishments of Maddox Dairy Farms and Joseph Gallo Farms, and all California dairy families, for their daily work in sustainably producing affordable, nutritious and delicious dairy products for millions of American families.

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Dairy Cares is a statewide coalition supporting economic and environmental sustainability and responsible animal care. Our members include the Bank of the West, Bar 20 Dairy Farms, California Dairies Inc., California Dairy Campaign, California Farm Bureau Federation, Conestoga-Rovers and Associates, Dairy Farmers of America-Western Area Council, Dairy Institute of California, Hilmar Cheese Co., HP Hood, Joseph Gallo Farms, Land O’Lakes, Milk Producers Council, Ruan Transport Corp., Western United Dairymen, California Cattlemen’s Association, Yosemite Farm Credit and others. For information, visit our web site or call 916-441-3318.