DFA LEADERS PROVIDE PERSPECTIVE AT 2017 SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE SUMMIT

Executives Doug Glade and David Darr represented Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national dairy cooperative owned by family farmers, during panel discussions at the 2017 Sustainable Agriculture Summit, held in Kansas City, Mo., this week. Several DFA farmer members also attended and participated in the two-day meeting.

One panel, “Do Goals Matter? How to Set and Achieve Supply Chain Sustainability Goals,” which included Doug Glade, executive vice president of commercial operations at DFA, gave attendees an inside look at how companies across the supply chain are holding themselves and their suppliers accountable through public goal setting. Joining Glade on the panel were Courtney Lareau of Mars Petcare and Daniel Sonke of Campbell Soup Company. The session was moderated by Charlene Finck, executive vice president and chief content officer for Farm Journal Media.

As a panelist, Glade talked about how sustainability is important from farm to table and includes DFA farmer members, commercial operations and customer partnerships. As a cooperative, DFA is committed to responsibly producing nutritious, high-quality milk and dairy products with focus on four key areas: responsible farming, innovative solutions, food safety and community.

Another panel during the Summit, “Assuring Responsible Dairy Farm Management,” included David Darr, vice president of sustainability and member services at DFA, and highlighted the industry-wide National Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program, and how dairy farmers are taking a proactive approach for continuous improvement in areas such as animal care as well as antibiotic and environmental stewardship. Additional panelists for this session were Josh Luth of Foremost Farms, Roberta Osborne of Chobani and Brandon Treichler of Select Milk Producers Cooperative. Emily Meredith, chief of staff for National Milk Producers Federation, served as the panel moderator.

During this panel, Darr discussed how DFA has made enrollment and compliance with the FARM program a priority for its farmer-member owners. He also talked about how DFA is working with partners to help bring more sustainable practices and renewable energy methods to its farmer members such as anaerobic digestion technology that converts manure to energy as well as wind turbines and solar power.

The Sustainable Agriculture Summit is a joint effort of Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, National Pork Board, Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. The vision for the Summit is to assemble key stakeholders from across the food and agricultural supply chain and discuss opportunities to advance and improve in agricultural sustainability.