Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability award

Wisconsin dairy farmers Lloyd and Daphne Holterman, and their partners Tim Strobel and Jordan Matthews, of Rosy-Lane Holsteins, have won a national award for outstanding dairy farm sustainability. Pictured above are, from left to right — Jordan Matthews, Tim Strobel, and Lloyd and Daphne Holterman.

WATERTOWN — Rosy-Lane Holsteins, a Watertown dairy farm, is the winner of a national award for outstanding dairy farm sustainability.

The award was presented at the annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards Oct. 12, in recognition of National Farmers Day. The U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards honor dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose practices improve the well-being of people, animals and the planet.

The Watertown farm is owned by Lloyd and Daphne Holterman and their partners, Tim Strobel and Jordan Matthews, and is one of three national winners in its category.

“Rosy-Lane Holsteins exemplifies our industry’s commitment to sustainability,” said Patrick Geoghegan, executive vice president industry relations for Dairy Farmer of Wisconsin. “They demonstrate that caring for the environment, our cows and our communities is what dairy farmers stand for every day. These are the stories that are important to today’s consumer and matter to the future of our industry.”

Rosy-Lane’s emphasis on cow health started with incorporating cattle genetic technologies more than 25 years ago, breeding cows that live longer, and are less susceptible to disease and illness. Another benefit of the genetics program is the farm has not used antibiotics on its milking herd for more than seven years and a veterinarian rarely is called to treat a sick animal.

“It’s really no different than a family of humans that live a long, healthy life,” said Lloyd Holterman. “Good genetics allow us to have a healthy family of cows that has the ability to ward off illness and disease. The breeding decisions we made have paid off.”

The dairy’s commitment to sustainability is ingrained in the farm’s everyday philosophy with its 20 employees.

“We’re strong on setting protocols about the environment, our cows and our people, and then making sure everyone is in alignment,” Daphne Holterman said. “As a team, we work to get better every day.”

The farm’s environmental stewardship is evident through several examples. Water is used three times before it is mixed with cow manure and applied to fields to nourish the alfalfa and corn crops that feed the cows.

The farm added the infrastructure to store and process corn at the farm, minimizing waste and the need for it to be hauled in from outside the dairy.

“Now more than ever we are recognizing the value and the fragility of supply chains, and both companies and producers are looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact while building resiliency,” said World Wildlife Fund-U.S. Senior Vice President, Fresh Water and Food, Melissa Ho, who served as one of this year’s judges. “These award winners show that the dairy community is actively working to put its commitment to environmental stewardship into action with the ultimate goal of achieving a healthy and sustainable future for people and planet.”

“Numerous dairy farmers are deserving of recognition for a commitment to sustainability,” said Tim Trotter, executive director of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, who submitted the nomination. “Rosy-Lane is a clear standout among them. Daphne, Lloyd, Tim and Jordan and the rest of their team epitomize the dedication of farmers to their animals, their employees, their community and our natural resources.

“And, with all they have achieved, their passion to continuously improve is as strong as ever,” he added. “We could not be prouder to be associated with such an extraordinary representative of the dairy community.”

The team hosts an average of two tours per week where they explain their sustainability efforts in layman’s terms. Every tour ends with cheese from Saputo, where the farm’s milk is shipped, to help connect the dots from farm to fork.

The farm also is host to hundreds of international visitors during World Dairy Expo and throughout the year.

Rosy-Lane Holsteins is a member of the local chamber of commerce, and team members often are asked to speak to local and international groups to share their philosophies and accomplishments.

Judges evaluated dozens of nominations based on economic, environmental and community impact. The independent judging panel — including industry and conservation experts — also considered learning, innovation, scalability and replicability in every nomination.

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