Healthy Cows, Environment Are Focus of Wisconsin Dairy
Rosy-Lane Holsteins, a Watertown dairy farm, is the winner of a national award for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability. The award will be presented at the annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards on Monday, Oct. 12, which honors dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose practices improve the well-being of people, animals and the planet. The Watertown farm is owned by Lloyd and Daphne Holterman and their partners Tim Strobel and Jordan Matthews and is one of three national winners in its category.
“Rosy-Lane Holsteins exemplifies our industry’s commitment to sustainability. They demonstrate that caring for the environment, our cows and our communities is what dairy farmers stand for every day,” said Patrick Geoghegan, executive vice president industry relations for Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. “These are the stories that are important to today’s consumer and matter to the future of our industry.”
Rosy-Lane’s emphasis on cow health started with incorporating cattle genetic technologies more than 25 years ago to breed cows that live longer and are less susceptible to disease and illness. Another benefit of the genetics program is the farm has not used antibiotics on its milking herd for more than seven years, and a veterinarian is rarely called to treat a sick animal.
“It’s really no different than a family of humans that live a long, healthy life,” said Lloyd Holterman. “Good genetics allow us to have a healthy family of cows that has the ability to ward off illness and disease. The breeding decisions we made have paid off.”
The dairy’s commitment to sustainability is ingrained in the farm’s everyday philosophy with its 20 employees.
“We’re strong on setting protocols about the environment, our cows and our people, and then we make sure everyone is in alignment,” Daphne Holterman said. “As a team, we work to get better every day.”
The farm’s environmental stewardship is evident through several examples. Water is used three times before it is mixed with cow manure and applied to fields to nourish the alfalfa and corn crops that feed the cows. The farm added the infrastructure to store and process corn at the farm, minimizing waste and the need for it to be hauled in from outside the dairy.
“Now more than ever we are recognizing the value and the fragility of supply chains, and both companies and producers are looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact while building resiliency,” said World Wildlife Fund-U.S. Senior Vice President, Fresh Water and Food Melissa Ho, who served as one of this year’s judges. “These award winners show that the dairy community is actively working to put its commitment to environmental stewardship into action with the ultimate goal of achieving a healthy and sustainable future for people and planet.”
Judges evaluated dozens of nominations based on economic, environmental and community impact. The independent judging panel — including industry and conservation experts — also considered learning, innovation, scalability and replicability in every nomination.
About Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin: Funded by Wisconsin dairy farmers, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin is a non-profit organization that focuses on marketing and promoting Wisconsin’s world-class dairy products. For more information, visit our website at wisconsindairy.org.