Monthly Archives: April 2021

Dairy Plays an Essential Role in Sustainable Food Systems

From farm-to-table, in Oregon and across the U.S., the dairy community is committed to nourishing people while minimizing impacts to the environment and preserving natural resources.

Sustainable Wellness
Dairy is a nutritious and affordable choice that fuels overall wellness. 

  • Dairy foods are linked to health benefits like reduced inflammation, improved digestive health and healthy immune systems.  Read more about the Health Benefits of Dairy.
  • Milk is a nutrient powerhouse with 13 essential nutrients. Check out more Milk Facts.

Sustainable Planet
Dairy is committed to being an environmental solution – raising the bar on social and environmental responsibility. 

  • In 2020, U.S. dairy set aggressive new environmental sustainability goals to achieve carbon neutrality or better, optimize water usage and improve water quality by 2050.  
  • Everyday 306 million pounds of food by-products are kept out of landfills thanks to dairy cows’ unique ability to upcyle. Find out why we think cows are nutrition superheros
  • Two Oregon dairy farms and one dairy co-op have received national recognition for their sustainability. Learn about award winning dairy in Oregon.

Sustainable Communities
Dairy contributes to strong, thriving communities and is accessible to all. 

  • Dairy farmers are proud members of America’s essential workforce.
  • The dairy community is working hard to ensure every child has access to nutrient-rich foods, including dairy foods, to help them grow, learn and thrive. Read about school breakfast and child nutrition programs in Oregon.
  • Each year, farmers and dairy companies work with local food banks to deliver nutritious dairy foods to those in need, providing 469 million pounds of dairy- including milk, cheese and yogurt –  to Feeding America in 2020 alone. Find out more about how farmers fight Hunger.

Looking for more information on how dairy nourishes people while responsibly caring for our planet and animals?  Join the Dairy Nourishes Network.

Members of the network receive the latest dairy research, resources and recipes, as well as opportunities for free continuing education.

Earning Top Honors: Dairy Awards in Oregon

Sustainability, quality, innovation … you could say the Oregon dairy community has a lot to celebrate. And you’d be right! Over the past couple of years, our producers, processors, and individuals within the community keep setting the bar higher, earning recognition regionally, nationally, and even internationally.

Oregon Dairy Farmers Association Awards

To acknowledge individuals for their lifelong contributions to Oregon’s Dairy Industry, the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association presents two annual awards at the state convention. Recent recipients have included:

  • Community Service Award – Roger and Jessie DeJager (2020)
  • Distinguished Service Award – Troy Downing (2020)  
  • Community Service Award – Tom Johnson (2019)
  • Distinguished Service Award – Will Wise and Julie Hoffman (2019)

Oregon Dairy Industries Awards

Oregon Dairy Industries, also known as ODI, was founded in 1910 to promote and elevate interest in dairy food products in the western United States. Each year, exceptional ODI members are recognized with the Oregon Dairy Industries Award. The 2020 Sweepstakes Award recipients included:

For more winners, visit oregondairy.org.

Oregon Ag Fest Education Awards

Oregon Ag Fest seeks to reward student organizations, nonprofit groups or classrooms that promote and educate Oregonians about agriculture. In 2020, Lost River FFA of Merrill, Oregon, won first place, and the Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador program won second place. The Oregon Dairy Women’s Dairy Princess Ambassador Program was created in 1959 to promote and provide outreach on behalf of the Oregon dairy industry. In 2019, they were able to reach more than 10,000 students statewide with in school presentations and county fairs. In 2020, they adjusted their programs to meet students virtually. 

Ida Ruby (lower left) and Jessie DeJager (lower right) of the Oregon Dairy Women receiving the 
2019 OSU Diamond Pioneer Agricultural Achievement Award.

College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University

In 2019, at two separate awards ceremonies for the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University, five individuals were recognized, including some familiar names. Ida Ruby and Jessie DeJager of the Oregon Dairy Women received the 2019 OSU Diamond Pioneer Agricultural Achievement Award. Phil Ward, now a board member for ODNC, received the Distinguished Legacy Award. Greg Harris, the director of farming and agronomy for Threemile Canyon Farms, received the Distinguished Alumni Luminary Award. And our very own Executive Director for ODNC, Pete Kent, took home a College of Agricultural Sciences Hall of Fame honor.

Here are some videos from past recipients:

Greg Harris / Threemile Canyon Farms / Alumni Luminary Award
Phil Ward, USDA Farm Service Agency, Alumni Legacy Award
Pete Kent, Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, CAS Hall of Fame

Oregon State University Extension Service

Threemile Canyon Farms (pictured above) was recognized in 2020 with the Cooperator of the Year Award from the Oregon State University Extension Service through it’s work with 4H programs in Morrow County. This award honors individuals and businesses who have made a significant contribution to OSU Extension in program involvement, support and community service.

Jeff Wendler, Director of Livestock at Threemile Canyon Farms, accepting the Cooperator of the Year Award.
Threemile Canyon Farms, winner of the 2020 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award.

U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards

The Oregon dairy community has proven they can walk the walk when talking about sustainability. As an annual award that recognizes dairy farms, businesses and collaborative partnerships that demonstrate outstanding economic, environmental and social benefits, Oregon provides powerful examples of dairy sustainability leadership.  

American Cheese Society

The American Cheese Society Judging and Competition is the largest competition of its kind for American cheese. The awards are designed to shine a spotlight on American cheesemakers by showcasing their talents and work as leaders within the industry. Unfortunately, this competition has been cancelled for 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many Oregon cheesemakers were celebrated in 2019.

World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest

This contest, sponsored by the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association, is unique because it includes all dairy products. This competition was also cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but it gives us an opportunity to continue celebrating Oregon’s winners in 2019:

National Milk Producers Federation

A celebration of American cheesemakers, NMPF’s yearly competition went virtual in 2020. In spite of the virtual contest, they still received nearly 190 entries of cheese and cottage cheese. Darigold claimed top honors for Best Cottage Cheese last year with their Pineapple Cottage Cheese.

Briar Rose Creamery’s Maia Cheese won the Good Food Awards Cheese category in 2019.

Good Food Awards

Presented by the Good Food Foundation, this award is not solely focused on dairy food products, and it is judged on quality, sustainability and socially responsible production. Amongst the nearly 2,000 entries in 16 different categories, Oregon creameries have been highlighted several years running. 

Quality Chek’d Production Excellence Awards

These awards recognize its member creameries that go above and beyond in a variety of categories, including: production, quality, marketing, and customer service, highlighting superior performance in finished product quality, plant appearance, cleanliness, efficiency, management leadership and process control. Criteria includes laboratory test scores and evaluation of a plant’s process systems. The 2020 award winners included:

Rogue Creamery’s Rogue River Blue cheese won Grand Champion at the World Cheese Awards, 2019.

World Cheese Awards (Bergamo, Italy) 

In the Olympics of all cheese competitions, cheeses are sent from around the world to be judged in a single day. Judges work in teams of three to identify cheeses worthy of a gold, silver, or bronze award based on the rind, color, texture, consistency and of course, taste. All teams also nominate a “Super Gold” from their table, and those top cheeses are judged a second time by a “Super Jury” of international judges. The final cheeses are debated in front of a live consumer and trade audience before choosing the Grand Champion Cheese on live television. In 2019, the first-ever American cheese was selected as the best in the world, and it was from Oregon. 

This string of impressive awards and accomplishments speaks volumes about the individuals and organizations integral to the Oregon dairy community. Oregon may be a smaller dairy state compared to others in the U.S., but our positive impacts, high standards and great accomplishments continue to put our state among the best in class – now and into the future.

RELATED LINKS

OREGON’S THREEMILE CANYON FARMS WINS NATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY AWARD

DAIRY DONE RIGHT: TILLAMOOK HONORED NATIONALLY FOR COMMUNITY IMPACT

FARMING WITH INNOVATION AND HEART EARNS NATIONAL AWARD FOR RICKREALL DAIRY

GOING ROGUE: OREGON CHEESE MAKES A BIG STATEMENT

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE OREGON DAIRY WOMEN, AG CONNECTION AWARD WINNERS

Time is Running Out for these Dairy and Ag Scholarships

Spring is in the air, a time when many high school graduates and college students are looking to the future as they consider higher education and their future careers. Luckily, there are scholarships available to help pay for the ever-increasing costs.

The dairy community and others in the world of agriculture are also looking to the future as they seek to invest in the next generation of students who are seeking to make their career home in agriculture. 

If you’re interested in an agricultural-related degree, don’t miss out on these scholarship opportunities! Deadlines are fast approaching, so the time to act is now. 


Oregon Dairy Farmers Association Scholarship – Due May 1

Awarded to the son or daughter of a current Oregon dairy producer attending a four-year college or university. 

Oregon Dairy Women Scholarship – Due May 1

Awarded to students majoring in Animal Science, Food Science, Veterinary Science, Nutrition, Dietetics or other areas related or having an impact on the dairy industry, or be the son or daughter of an Oregon dairy family or worked on a dairy for at least two years or had a 4-H or FFA dairy project for four years. 

National Dairy Promotion and Research Board – Due May 7

Awards up to 11 $2500 scholarships to eligible undergrad students enrolled in college/university programs that emphasize dairy. 

Farm Bureau Scholarships – Deadlines vary per county

Awarded to high school students, or students enrolled in an accredited school of higher education, who are pursuing a field that relates to, or benefits, agriculture. 

College Aggies Online

Connecting college students from across the country who are passionate about sharing positive information about animal agriculture. 

Oregon has many great institutions where students can earn degrees at all levels from associate to doctoral, gaining work experience along the way. There are many career opportunities related to agriculture and food production to fit many interests, from food science to animal nutrition, veterinary services to agronomy. 

Related Links:

WHO’S WHO: CAREERS IN FOOD

FREE MONEY? SCHOLARSHIPS IN DAIRY AND AGRICULTURE

DAIRY PRINCESS AMBASSADOR GOES INTERNATIONAL