US-based producer of ice cream and refrigerated drinks, Turkey Hill Dairy, has partnered with Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to form the Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership (THCWP).
The newly-formed partnership is intended to fund local dairy farmer’s conservation actions, providing them with technical and financial assistance, and is apparently the first of its kind in bringing together the private and public sectors.
The companies have focused on Lancaster County and surrounding central Pennsylvania counties within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. High populations in these areas have resulted in overgrazing and cropland production too close to streams.
While these issues have contributed to nutrient and sediment pollution and reduced stream health, Pennsylvania’s dairy industry has been suffering from low milk prices for several years, leaving conservation practice improvements last on their list of operational concerns.
With the aim of improving the operations’ impact on local rivers and streams, Turkey Hill have requested that local dairy farmers implement a conservation plan and management practices.
The THCWP has received funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to provide farmers with the necessary resources to meet their conservation goals and Turkey Hill’s commitments for sustainable milk production.
Farmers who successfully implement all practices prescribed in their conservation plans will receive a premium from Turkey Hill for their milk.
Former CEO and current chairman of Turkey Hill Dairy, John Cox, said: “We don’t accept it when others say that green projects, products or sustainability has to cost the company.
“Instead, we seek out initiatives that will be both good for the environment and good for our company.”
To date, the partnership has resulted in 150 farmers beginning the process of achieving new conservation standards.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019