Green Field Solutions and Earth Week go together like peanut butter and jelly, or in the case of Richard Bradfield, like corned beef and cabbage. For Earth Week 2021, we asked our long-time employee, dairy farmer and Ireland native to talk about how his past and present converge to create a better, more sustainable earth.
What was it like growing up on a dairy farm?
I was raised in a large family in Ireland. We grew up on a dairy farm, which meant we were really part of nature; it also required everyone working together to run the small family business. From an early age, I learned the value of hard work, caring for livestock, reusing and fixing items to not waste, and the importance of our environment. I appreciate the work I do today because of the lessons I learned growing up on a farm.
How does your job contribute to a better earth?
Our job is to take under-utilized food co-products, understand their nutritional value through science, and process them into standardized ingredients that feed pets and livestock. By capturing valuable nutrients from food co-products that may otherwise have gone to the landfill, our job naturally contributes to a better earth. Within the dairy industry, we have worked very closely with cheese companies to capture a co-products stream called whey permeate, which is rich in the nutrient lactose. We built the first dedicated plant in the world to process this dairy material into a high quality animal feed ingredient. What was once treated as a waste to the dairy industry is now a 1.5 billion pound a year business….a better business, a better earth.
How are dairy farmers contributing to a better food supply?
Dairy farmers are responsible for one of the most nutritious foods available—milk. As an industry, we recognize the need to feed a growing world population with the same — or less — amount of finite resources. We have seen huge improvements in agricultural and dairy production over the years. Since I started in the industry in 1993, U.S. milk yield per cow has increased 54 percent and milk production has increased 40 percent.
How are dairy farmers contributing to a better planet?
The dairy industry is also making great strides to decrease their environmental impact. Today, farmers are more economical in their use of finite resources like land and water. As innovators and business people whose livelihood is very dependent on the environment, they realize it makes good business sense to care for their land and animals in the best possible way.
Dairy: Challenges & Solutions
Milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. As demand is on the rise, so are measures to reduce the resources it takes to produce more. While farmers do more to use fewer resources, companies tackling food waste can have just as much impact on global food security and sustainability. Read more about how Green Field Solutions is helping clients in the dairy industry:
- Don’t Throw That Milk Away – Across the country, dairy processing companies face the challenge of expired or near-date retail products. Often, these materials are destroyed or thrown away at the retail site. Learn about a reverse logistics process that keeps near expired dairy out of the landfill, turning it into a value add.
- Innovating A New Product From Dairy Residuals – For cheese manufacturers, disposing of billions of pounds of by-product is not only unsustainable, but also a significant expense. See how a waste stream can become an ongoing revenue stream in an environmentally-forward way.