Protecting our environment takes a herd. That’s why as a family-farmer owned brand part of Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), Guida’s is a proud brand supporter of the Nerd Herd – a team of DFA farmers, scientists, engineers, and more working to make dairy even more sustainable. Together, the Nerd Herd is developing high-tech, innovative solutions to help us reduce emissions and protect the environment.
What does that look like in Connecticut? DFA and Guida’s sustainability efforts include turning milk spoilage into energy with anaerobic digesters, reducing emissions by investing in sustainable transportation, making their processing plant energy efficient, and more.
Turning production plant waste into energy
Guida’s partners with Vanguard Renewables to recycle any milk spoilage. Each week, our processing plant in New Britain diverts milk waste to a depacking facility in Agawam, Mass., that mixes the organic waste products where much of it then goes to the Bar-Way Farm in Deerfield, Mass., to create renewable energy and fertilizer with the help of its anaerobic digester. Photo of the digester at Bar-Way Farm below.
Like a garbage disposal on steroids, anaerobic digesters gobble everything from manure to local food scraps and waste. But instead of going down the drain, they convert the compost cocktail to energy to power your lightbulbs, TV, and garbage disposal.
Other efforts in our plant include recycling and reusing plastic and paper recyclables to reduce waste that goes to a landfill, updating plant lights to energy-efficient LED lights, installation of energy-efficient compressors that reduce energy consumption in our milk coolers, and regulated compressors that adjust to less energy use when the plant isn’t running or is at lower capacity.
Investing in sustainable transportation
Guida’s has invested in several modern updates to its fleet and maintenance facility that dramatically reduce emissions from entering the atmosphere.
We have placed focus on modernizing our fleet of vehicles to minimize negative impact on the environment. Through this effort, our fleet vehicles include new emission systems that significantly reduce emissions and makes them extremely fuel-efficient. Our trucks use electric standby instead of diesel, and all our trucks are programmed with a three-minute maximum idle time before shutting off. We are also changing lights in our facilities to options such as energy-efficient LEDs.
DFA’s Nerd Herd
Sustainable dairy in Connecticut doesn’t stop there. DFA’s Nerd Herd includes family-owned dairy farms across Connecticut. We are working to positively impact the environment through:
Reducing emissions. Cow burps release methane gas — this happens because of the unique makeup of their stomachs, which have four compartments. Their stomachs allow them to recycle the things humans can’t eat. The Nerd Herd solution: Our dairy queens dine on foods like cilantro, seaweed, and probiotics. Not only do these foods make them feel distinguished, it also helps cut down on their burps.
Promoting healthy soil. Between conventional farming and Mother Nature, the dirt beneath our feet can lose nutrients. In many places, the soil is doing a disappearing act altogether. The Nerd Herd solution: By growing cover crops like clovers, turnips, radishes, ryegrass, and peas, our dairy farmers treat the soil right. These crops aren’t planted for profit, but primarily to replenish the nutrients, trap water that would otherwise wash away precious soil and can help provide the ultimate munchies for the herd.
Investing in renewable energy. Fossil fuels have an expiration date — there are only so many available. The Nerd Herd solution: With solar panels and wind turbines, our dairy farmers capture nature’s natural elements to keep the farm running and, in some cases, power homes and businesses in their local communities.
Turning cow waste into energy with anaerobic digesters. Similar to how Guida’s partners with Vanguard Renewables to recycle its spoiled milk, digesters are also used to turn cow manure into renewable energy, which keeps methane gas from cycling through the atmosphere. Guida’s is involved with The Farm Powered Strategic Alliance through its relationship with DFA; the Alliance is a collaborative movement to boost food waste reduction and recycling, and to expand renewable energy production across America with on-farm anaerobic digesters.
From coast to coast, Dairy Farmers of America is taking steps to move our Cooperative to net-zero. Visit dfamilk.com/nerd-herd to learn more about the Nerd Herd.
About Dairy Farmers of America
Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) is a national, farmer-owned dairy cooperative focusing on quality, innovation, and the future of family dairies. While supporting and serving more than 12,500 family farm-owners, DFA manufactures a variety of dairy products, including fluid milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, dairy ingredients, and more that connect our Cooperative’s family farms to family tables with regional brands such as Alta Dena® Dairy, Meadow Gold® Dairy, Friendly®’s, Borden® Cheese, Plugrá® Premium Butter, and Kemps® to name a few. On a global scale, we work with some of the world’s largest food companies to develop ingredients their customers are craving, while staying committed to social responsibility and ethical farming. For more information, please visit dfamilk.com.
About Guida’s Dairy
Since 1886, Guida’s Dairy has been providing high-quality dairy products to consumers in the Northeast. In 2012, the company became a farmer-owned brand of Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national dairy cooperative that is owned by more than 12,500 family farmers. Guida’s Dairy offers an extensive line of products, including fluid milk, cream, ice cream mixes, orange juice, and a variety of other dairy products. For more information about Guida’s Dairy and our products, visit guidas.com.