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Dairy farmers produce nutritious milk with care for the planet every day. Dutch Hollow Farm in Schodack Landing, N.Y., reduces waste on the farm by feeding cows leftovers.

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Syracuse, N.Y.,  -- Every April, dairy farmers rally together to celebrate environmental practices that help preserve the earth. On Earth Day especially, everyone is reminded of the continued need to protect our natural resources. According to the American Dairy Association North East, for dairy farmers, sustainability is a major focus every day when they produce nutritious milk — it's made with care for the planet in mind. 

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In fact, there are seven ways we can all be more like dairy farmers in showing our commitment to environmental sustainability.

  1. Replace old lights with high-efficiency LED lights. Ar-Joy Farm in Cochranville, Pa., replaced traditional lights with LED lights to reduce electricity usage in the barns while still making it bright for the cows and people.

  2. Reuse water more than once. Instead of making pasta and draining the water down the sink, use it to water your plants. Stauffer Farms in Lawrence, N.Y., stores the water that they use to cool their milk and then use it to wash up the parlor after each milking. 

  3. Use regular towels instead of paper towels. Washing and reusing regular towels helps Star Rock Farms in Conestoga, Pa., avoid the wastefulness of throwing away paper towels seconds after being used.

  4. Use leftovers for an extra meal! Cows can be picky eaters, too! Dutch Hollow Farm in Schodack Landing, N.Y., makes sure not to waste feed. Instead, they take any "leftovers" and feed them to a different group of cows to reduce waste.

  5. Grow and preserve food when its fresh to nourish you year-round. Welcome Stock Farm in Schuylerville, N.Y., grows their crops throughout the spring and summer to harvest them and then ferments them (like pickling or canning) so the cows will have nutrient rich feed throughout the winter.

  6. Plan out your travel route to conserve fuel. Meadow Vista Farm in Bainbridge, Pa., plans each route for spring crop work as efficiently as possible to reduce fuel usage — and time on the road, too.  

  7. Opt for reusable dishware for serving meals. Richmond Farms Dairy in North Collins, N.Y., feeds their calves using bottles and then washes them after each meal to keep their calves healthy.

There are so many small things that we all can do to make a difference in our footprint on the earth. Like dairy farmers, changing how we do things can collectively have a big impact on our environment — and preserve and protect our planet for future generations.

SOURCE American Dairy Association North East

This article originally ran on northcentralpa.com.

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