Dairy Strong Sustainability Alliance

Dairy farmers in Wisconsin are trying their best to improve practices on their farms so they can be both environmentally and economically sustainable. And, they want to instill trust in customers who buy dairy.

Paige Frautschy is the agriculture strategy manager for the Wisconsin chapter of The Nature Conservancy. She says they’re working with groups of dairy farmers and other industry partners on a project called the “Dairy Strong Sustainability Alliance”. Its focus is to connect dairy farmers with the tools and resources they need to implement conservation practices on their farms.

"Maybe some of them are already trying some practices like no-till, cover crops, low-disturbance manure injection with dairy, of course," says Frautschy. "They want to promote those practices, they want to learn, and they want to share their successes and failures with farmers in their community."

The farmer groups are being supported with technical expertise based on science-based outcomes for their specific area of the state.

"It all comes down to protecting the soil and water quality," she says. "Each region around the state may have different specific concerns regarding those things so the practices may differ slightly, and why it’s important to have these regional groups working together. Because what works in northeastern Wisconsin may not be the best fit for southeastern Wisconsin. But, for the most part, the practices that farmers are focusing on right now are cover crops."

The alliance focuses on projects at the farm level, but will ultimately include processors, brands, and retailers.