Kinnard Farms, town of Lincoln, won a national award for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability from The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, during a ceremony Wednesday in Rosemont, Ill.

Established under the leadership of dairy farmers, the Innovation Center announced its sixth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards during a program designed to recognize dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose practices improve the well-being of people, animals and the planet.

The farm was one of three national winners in their category.

The award announcement recognized the Kinnard Family for innovative ways to maximize water, soil and cow comfort while supporting their rural community: “They retain the area’s young, college-educated residents by employing them to innovate farm technology. The Kinnards are often on the cutting edge; they made a first-of-its-kind sand recycling center—one that uses no freshwater in the process—to separate, wash and dry sand for repeated use. Sand is this farm’s preferred bedding material because it provides comfort and sure footing for cows and is bacteria free, keeping udders healthy.”

Kinnard Farms won a U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award on June 28 for efforts to maximize water, soil and cow comfort while supporting their rural community. From left are family members David and Jackie Stewart, Lee Kinnard, and Matt Nuckols, the event master of ceremonies and a Virginia dairy producer.

“The Kinnard family is dedicated to continuous improvement in cow comfort and soil health, allowing them to grow the farm sustainably and preserve their rural community’s agricultural roots,” said Chad Frahm, senior vice president, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “We commend them for their impressive practices.”

According to Nathan Nysse, a senior agronomist with Tilth Agronomy who nominated the farm for the award, “Kinnard Farms takes a responsible approach to farming, keeping social, economic and environmental impacts top-of-mind. The Kinnard Family remains focused on maintaining soil quality and health and keeping their land in crop production for a long period of time, while protecting our surface and groundwater. The family owners have strong values, personal integrity and a willingness to exceed regulations to make sure their dairy farm is good for the people and the planet.”

The other winners in the Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability category were SwissLane Farms, Alto, Michigan, and Rickreall Dairy, Rickreall, Oregon.

Award winners represent the U.S. dairy community’s voluntary efforts towards continuous improvement in sustainability, according to Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

“This year’s winners devised new ways to protect our land, air and water. And they’re proactive about building strong relationships with their communities and employees,” O’Brien said. “Throughout the dairy value chain, all sizes of dairy farms and companies use sustainable practices because it’s good for the environment, good for their community and good for business.”

Judges evaluated nominations based on their economic, environmental and community impact. The independent judging panel — including experts working with and throughout the dairy community — also considered learning, innovation, scalability and replicability.

Read the full news release here.