The Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership sparked from ideas discussed at a Businesses for the Bay Forum in 2016, and is a collaborative effort coordinated by the Alliance, in partnership with Turkey Hill, and Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA). Through the Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership, Turkey Hill will take momentous strides towards cleaning up local water quality in the Lancaster area by providing incentives for local dairy farmers to use a conservation plan on their property.
Turkey Hill Dairy receives its milk from about 160 MDVA farms all within a 50-mile radius of their manufacturing facility in Conestoga, Pennsylvania. As part of their 2018 contract with MDVA, Turkey Hill has asked that all producers receive a conservation plan and reach 100 percent environmental compliance through implementing on-the-ground conservation practices.
These practices include animal waste storage systems, riparian forest buffers, cover crops, barnyard stabilization, and more. Once all of MDVA’s member farms supplying milk to Turkey Hill Dairy are in compliance, Turkey Hill will pay the farmers a premium for their milk.
The goal of the Partnership is to restore the health of Lancaster’s waterways and encourage other businesses to create environmental change with a nonprofit partner. Reducing the amount of nutrients and sediment flowing from farms and into local waterways not only improves stream health locally, but it also helps restore the health of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay.
Overall, the THCWP hopes to demonstrate how cross-sector partnerships have the ability to accelerate local restoration efforts.
To date, the partnership serves 260 farms, which equates to over 25,000 dairy cows, and continues provide support so producers can accomplish their conservation goals. Previous funding from NRCS and the NFWF has funded the implementation of numerous best management practices (BMP).
Of the 260 farms supplying milk to Turkey Hill, 39 have participated in the partnership. These farms have been supported with conservation planning and/or on-the-ground projects complete or underway.
conservation and nutrient management plans
agricultural best management practices
trees planted on participating farms
raised to support BMP implementation
The THCWP has worked closely with different partners and federal and state conservation programs that all together have leveraged over $2 million in matching. This funding has helped TH producers to complete several conservation projects in addition to the ones that the partnership has funded.
In 2020, the Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership was honored to receive national recognition as the Outstanding Supply Chain Collaboration Award recipient from the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Alliance. The U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards recognize innovative projects and collaborative partnerships that have outstanding economic, environmental, and social benefits, and that serve as a replicable model to inform and inspire others in advancing dairy sustainability leadership.
Check out some recent articles covered by local news sources to learn more about how the Partnership has been progressing:
This partnership has been made possible by funding from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.