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Judging Panel Announced for Innovation Center's Dairy Sustainability Awards

Judging Panel Announced for Innovation Center's Dairy Sustainability Awards

New judges and sponsors for The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards announced; two new award categories available

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy this week said McDonald's Corporation and Tetra Pak, Inc., have both committed as sponsors for the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards.

The group also announced an expanded judging panel for the 2015 awards, which feature two new categories. Nominations will remain open until Nov. 7.

The awards were launched four years ago and recognize outstanding dairy farms, businesses and partnerships for socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound practices. These practices, large and small, are steps that add up to promote the health and well-being of consumers, communities, cows, employees, the planet and business.

New judges and sponsors for The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards announced; two new award categories available

Related: Innovation Center Seeks Dairy Sustainability Leaders for 2015 Awards

"Dairy sustainability is about more than just a carbon footprint. It is about our positive contributions to alleviate hunger, ensure the vitality of our communities, protect natural resources and more," said Barbara O'Brien, president of the Innovation Center. "We are inspired by the powerhouse of thought leaders who also are committed to solving the country's food, energy and water challenges, and are joining our effort."

For 2015, gold-level sponsors are: the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, DeLaval, DVO, Inc., Elanco Animal Health, InSinkErator, Tetra Pak, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, World Wildlife Fund and Zoetis. Silver-level sponsors are: the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, ChemTreat, DSM Nutritional Products, HDR, Inc., McDonald's, Organic Solution Management and Syngenta.

The judging panel for the 2015 awards includes new experts from food, health and community organizations as well as the return of esteemed experts from academic, government, nongovernment, media, environmental and dairy organizations.

Related: 6 Dairies Honored for Sustainability Commitment

The expanded judging panel reflects the larger role that collaboration plays in building a more sustainable food system, as does the addition of two new awards categories: Outstanding Achievement in Resource Stewardship and Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships.

The program also will continue to recognize the "best of the best" with awards for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability and Outstanding Dairy Processing and Manufacturing.

Judges will evaluate all nominations based on results as measured by economic, environmental and social impact, also known as triple-bottom-line success. They also will assess: the potential for other dairy farms and businesses to adopt the practices; demonstrated learning, innovation and improvement; and scalability. View a list of the judges on the second page of this story.

Winners of the 2015 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards will be announced in April 2015. There is no fee to enter.

Judges for the 2015 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards >>


  • Deborah Atwood, executive director, AGree
  • Ann Bartuska, deputy under secretary for research, education and economics, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Katie Brown, Ed.D., RDN, LD, national education director, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation
  • Jim Carper, editor-in-chief, Dairy Foods
  • Jason Clay, senior vice president, food and markets, World Wildlife Fund
  • Dan DeGroot, owner, Skyridge Farms and 2013 Sustainability Award winner
  • Jim Dickrell, editor and associate publisher, Dairy Today
  • Debra Eschmeyer, co-founder and vice president of external affairs, FoodCorps, Inc.
  • Susan Forsell, vice president, sustainability, McDonald's Corporation
  • Craig Frear, assistant professor, Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Washington State University
  • Mike Gallo, chief executive officer, Joseph Gallo Farms and 2014 Sustainability Award winner
  • Molly Jahn, professor, Department of Agronomy, Laboratory of Genetics, and Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Larry Jensen, chair, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and president, Leprino Foods
  • Phil Lempert, founder,
  • Doug McKalip, senior policy advisor for rural affairs at White House Domestic Policy Council
  • Randy Mooney, dairy farmer and chairman, National Milk Producers Federation
  • Dr. M. Gatz Riddell, Jr., executive vice president, American Association of Bovine Practitioners
  • Paul Rovey, chairman, Dairy Management Inc. and owner, Rovey Dairy
  • Brian Sloboda, senior program manager, Cooperative Research Network, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
  • Connie Tipton, president and chief executive officer, International Dairy Foods Association
  • Jason Weller, chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA
  • Allison Wiedeman, acting agricultural counselor to the administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
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