What’s the secret to winning the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award? For Threemile Canyon Farms in Boardman, Oregon, it’s putting sustainability and its animals first.
“We’re major recyclers,” said former General Manager Marty Myers, explaining how their dairy fits into operations at the farm. “Whatever we create, we utilize.”
Manure provided by the 30,000 milking cows at the dairy is an essential part of the farm’s closed loop system. By recycling the waste and water from it’s dairy into essential nutrients for crops, the farm has grown from 200 acres of organic farming in 2002 to over 15,000 acres in 2020.
Animal care is a top priority for all Oregon dairy farmers. In fact, most Oregon dairies offer their farm for voluntary inspections that are science-based and cow-focused to be sure they are providing the best care possible.
At Threemile Canyon Farms, Dr. Mike Paros, an independent animal advocate and veterinarian, also helps provide third-party oversight at the farm. “My main focus is taking the perspective of the animal and do whatever I can to provide the best care for them,” said Paros.
Using water in a sustainable way is another way this farm makes a commitment to the environment. “Water is everything. Without water, there is no farm,” says Greg Harris, Director of Agronomy. By recycling waste water as part of it’s closed loop farming system and using technology to monitor it’s water usage closely, Threemile Canyon Farms helps to preserve the land and aquifers around it.
Click here for more information on Threemile Canyon Farms and other US Dairy Sustainability Award winners.