As a collaboration between The Hershey Company, Land O’ Lakes, and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Sustainable Dairy PA, is focused on supporting a more sustainable and climate-friendly dairy supply chain in Pennsylvania for Hershey’s Milk Chocolate.
Responding to global threats to biodiversity due to climate change and water quality impairments, Sustainable Dairy PA will install on-farm best management practices to support a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and help improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Initial funding for the project comes from The Hershey Company’s $300,000 commitment to support the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Land O’Lakes in installing agricultural conservation practices on Land O’Lakes member dairy farms. The initiative has prioritized 119 Land O’Lakes member-owners in Central Pennsylvania that ship 50% or more of their milk supply to Hershey.
The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay will utilize Hershey’s funds to leverage additional grant funding to implement conservation plans and innovative on-farm environmental practices. The solutions range from riparian buffer plantings that reduce stream bank erosion and improve habitat to animal waste storage systems and other sustainable farming practices to support a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution.
Sustainable Dairy PA has begun to work with dairy farmers in south-central Pennsylvania and is actively building a list of their conservation needs that will guide the program’s priorities. In addition to working with the initial 119 farms, the initiative has the potential to reach more than 400 Land O’Lakes member farms supplying milk to Hershey as funding and support grows.
Sustainable Dairy PA recognizes that dairy producers are important players in helping improve water quality and mitigating climate change.
These objectives are made possible by supporting farmers with the costs of the critical improvements. This allows farmers to produce quality farm products while contributing to the health of the Bay, its tributaries, and the planet.
The work seeks to demonstrate that conservation and economic profit are compatible, and high-quality milk produced on farms using clean water and climate-smart practices provides a value-added premium in the marketplace and addresses the growing demands of discerning consumers.
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This partnership has been made possible by funding from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.