Dorrich Dairy in Glenwood, MN, has been recognized with a 2015 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability. Part of the Land O’Lakes, Inc. farmer-owned cooperative, the Vold family’s 400-cow dairy was selected for its holistic environmental approach.
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® program recognizes outstanding dairy farms, businesses and partnerships for practices large and small that not only focus on the environment but add up to promote the health and well-being of consumers, communities, cows, employees, the planet and business.
Dorrich Dairy has been in the Vold family since 1899. The current generations are embracing both tried-and-true and cutting-edge methods of protecting the farm’s natural resources to ensure that the land stays viable for the next generation — and beyond.
“Continuing our family’s tradition as stewards of the land is immensely important to all of us, and this recognition reinforces what we’ve been doing for more than a century,” says Suzanne Vold, who farms with her husband Brad, his brother Greg and Greg’s wife Charity and the Vold brothers’ parents, Dorothy and Richard. “That tradition is centered around honoring the commitment we’ve made to the environment, our animals and our neighbors. Richard and Dorothy honored that commitment, and so are we.”
Since 2009, the Volds have been introducing wasp larvae into fly nests. Once the wasps hatch, they eat the fly pupa, then lay eggs to begin the cycle again. The strategy has drastically reduced the need for synthetic chemicals to control flies and has cut insecticide costs by 85 percent.
The Volds have embraced numerous other approaches designed to make a measurable impact on the environment, their community and the farm’s future, including:
– Protecting water quality through frequent crop rotations
– Planting corn in smaller-than-usual 15-inch rows to crowd out weeds
– Aggressively scouting pests; and
– Using a high-tech soil-mapping system to continuously measure pH and electrical conductivity to determine the precise amount of nutrients to use.