As stewards of the land, we practice sustainability in a variety of ways at Fertile Ridge Dairy. Sustainability is about more than just our environmental footprint. It means being innovative, efficient and progressive so that the dairy farm remains a viable business for future generations.
Sustainability also means earning a profit so that we can continue producing safe, wholesome and nutritious food that the growing World population demands.
Furthermore, sustainability means working with local farmers and suppliers to keep agriculture and small business alive and prosperous in Dane County, Wisconsin.
Our approach to business is to engage in practices that benefit our animals, our environment, our employees and our customers. Here are examples of our sustainable practices:
- Crop Rotation – Corn, hay, wheat, oats and soybeans are rotated year-to-year. This provides optimal nutrient utilization and helps prevent soil erosion and runoff.
- No-Till Cropping – Fields are planted on top of organic matter without tilling the soil. This helps prevent erosion, reduces fuel use and minimizes carbon release from the soil.
- Nutrient Optimization – Soils from each field are tested for things like content, quality and nutrient composition. This helps strategically apply fertilizer to create optimal nutrient utilization.
- Nutrient Management – Cow manure is strategically applied seasonally to fields according to a strict nutrient management plan. Cow manure is a tremendous organic fertilizer for crops.
- Recycling Waste Products – Wheat straw and corn “fodder” are collected and used as bedding for cattle. We also feed our cattle things like brewery & bakery by-products.
- Cooperative Harvesting – Many local farmers help provide equipment, labor, services and expertise we need to produce high-quality feed for our cattle with minimal transport.
- Energy Conservation – We have reduced our energy use by implementing energy efficient lighting, fans, and milking equipment.
- Renewable Energy – We are currently exploring renewable energies including biogas, solar and wind to power our farm and neighbors’ homes.