Monthly Archives: April 2020

Oregon’s Threemile Canyon Farms Wins National Sustainability Award

An Oregon dairy was among the winners of the 2020 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards announced in a presentation by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Threemile Canyon Farms in Boardman, Oregon, was one of three dairies nationwide – and the only one on the U.S. West Coast – to receive the award for Outstanding Dairy Sustainability.

Threemile Canyon Farms was recognized for demonstrating how growing crops and milking cows can complement one another in a regenerative, closed-loop system, resulting in little to no waste. “We find what traditionally would be considered waste and redeploy that waste to beneficial use,” said Marty Myers, general manager and part owner for Threemile Canyon Farms.

For the past nine years, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has recognized dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose practices improve the well-being of people, animals and the planet. Selection involves a rigorous nomination and review process, and the winners serve as a replicable model for best practices that yield economic, environmental and social benefits.

Dairy farmer Sam Schwoeppe introduces Threemile Canyon Farms as an Outstanding Dairy Sustainability award winner, on behalf of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

Threemile’s 70,000 Jersey cows are located at the center of the 93,000-acre farm. Practicing precision agriculture, the farm also grows organic blueberries, onions, carrots, potatoes, and corn, as well as a variety of conventional food, feed, and cover crops. Manure from the dairy serves as organic fertilizer for the crops, and the cows consume byproducts from food processing for human consumption that would otherwise go to waste.

Modeling creativity, innovation, and efficiency, their efforts to continuously improve farm practices generate positive results for food safety, air and water quality, animal care, and community benefits. “Our philosophy and approach is continuous improvement, with our team members bringing new ideas to our operations in farming, livestock, and renewable energy,” said Myers.

As an example, Threemile recently partnered with Equilibrium Capital to invest in converting its methane digester from generating electricity to producing clean Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). This process sequesters about 136,000 metric tons of carbon emissions every year. This is the annual equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from 28,875 passenger vehicles driven while yielding a beneficial product in the form of RNG. Renewable natural gas used in vehicles reduces fuel emissions by 80 percent or more compared to diesel fuel.

The farm also thinks beyond its borders, voluntarily placing 23,000 acres into a wildlife conservation area and donating 7,000 pounds of ground beef to Farmers Ending Hunger every month. It also supports internships and opportunities for local 4-H and FFA students and other local community projects.

This year’s U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award winners show how operations of all scope and size are doing their part to make a positive impact on Earth’s resources. Go to usdairy.com/sustainability to learn more about the winners and to see how U.S. dairy adopts conservation practices in sensitive ecosystems, recycles water, produces clean energy and more.

“Threemile Canyon Farms is a highly successful working model of how modern dairy practices can be an environmental solution,” said Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council Executive Director Pete Kent. “To feed not only our own local communities, but growing global populations, we must embrace such efforts as these to care for our natural resources, so we can rely on them continuously to produce our food in the decades ahead.”

RELATED LINKS:

Threemile Canyon Farms

Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards

2018 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award winner Tillamook County Creamery Association

2017 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award winner Rickreall Dairy

Shannon Guirl Represents New Approach to Telling Dairy’s Story

With more than a decade of experience in video production and social media management, Shannon Guirl has been selected as the new Sr. Manager of Integrated Communications for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council (ODNC). In this newly created role, she will be responsible for reaching multiple audiences with engaging visual storytelling and content about Oregon’s dairy community.

Amidst an ever-changing media landscape, the competition for attention is constant. Combine that with the fact that many consumers are increasingly disconnected from agriculture and where their food comes from, and it becomes immediately evident why ODNC prioritized this new position.

“We always say dairy needs to do a better job of telling its story, from sustainable farming practices, to exceptional nutrition, to the economic benefits and beyond,” said Josh Thomas, Sr. Director of Communications for ODNC. “But it isn’t just about telling more stories, it’s about telling the right kinds of stories and in the right ways – and increasingly, that translates to visual storytelling on digital platforms.”

As a freelance editor in New York, Guirl worked on broadcast, cable and documentary productions for NBC, A&E, Discovery, CNN and Reuters among others. She also worked in corporate communications for UNICEF, TED Talks and Etsy. Most recently, Guirl owned and operated a lighting design studio in Portland specializing in making handcrafted lamps. She holds a degree from the University of Southern California, where she graduated from the School of Cinematic Arts.

“In addition to Shannon’s strong technical expertise in visual and digital communications, she brings creative vision and a natural enthusiasm to our team,” said Pete Kent, Executive Director for ODNC. “We’re excited that her work with ODNC will help us build understanding, trust and sales for dairy in new and engaging ways.”

Dairy Community Responding, Adjusting to COVID-19 Impacts

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented significant challenges to individuals, families and businesses worldwide. Our thoughts are with you and yours to stay safe and healthy as you continue to adjust your lifestyle.

The dairy community is also adjusting. While demand for milk and dairy products at retail has increased, the shutdown of schools and sudden disruption of the foodservice supply chain have caused ripple effects.

In some instances, if there is nowhere for the raw, unpasteurized milk to go, it must be disposed. This is a last resort when all other options are exhausted. If a farmer does have to dispose of the milk, it is responsibly discarded to ensure it does not enter rivers, streams or waterways. The last thing a dairy farmer wants to do is dump milk, and it takes a serious financial and emotional toll. Dairy Carrie and TDF Honest Farming have provided helpful explanations.

Oregon dairy farmers and processors are working tirelessly to provide healthy and nutritious foods, and they have been delivering food for retail sales, youth feeding programs and community food banks.

Dairy farmers in Oregon and nationally are supporting youth meal programs. These programs are open to all children ages 1 to 18 to ensure they are getting the nutrition they need to stay healthy. Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon maintains a list of these programs and you can donate to the national campaign called “For Schools’ Sake – Help Us Feed Our Nation’s Kids!” Oregon dairy processors are also working with the Oregon Food Bank to deliver donations to the people and places where they are needed.

Oregon’s dairy farm families and dairy processors thank you for your support during these challenging times. Your purchase of milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream and other dairy products makes a difference, and it is greatly appreciated. We’ll get through this together.

Be a Food Hero: Cooking With Kids (VIDEO)

Do you have a picky eater at home? It’s always a challenge to get kids to eat healthy, but studies have shown that if you involve your child in the meal prep, they are more likely to eat what they prepare. Plus it gives them something productive and fun to do during times while they are homebound.

In this video, Juliauna (age 5) makes Zucchini Pizza Boats with just a little help from her mom. And, at minute 2:31 you can see how much she loved what she made.

FoodHero.org is a fantastic website where you will find kid-approved, budget-friendly and healthy recipes. Plus you will also find meal ideas and shopping tips. Funded by Oregon SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education), they help Oregonians improve their health by increasing their consumption of nutritious foods.

Their website makes it easy to search for recipes that incorporate foods you already have in your home with a section where you can search recipes by ingredients. While supervision by a parent or caretaker is necessary for cutting and cooking, many of the recipes are easy for kids to make with very little help or direction. They also have coloring pages to help your children learn about the ingredients they are using.

RELATED LINK:

Food Hero