Washington’s dairy farm families are committed to producing wholesome, nutritious and safe dairy products. We are equally committed to animal welfare, environmental stewardship and the communities we serve. Because we want you to be confident in the dairy products you eat and drink, we want you to know about rbST—what it is; what research has shown about using rbST; and, ultimately, why Washington milk is rbST-free.
Art Mensonides is a dairy farmer in Mabton, Washington. Originally from The Netherlands, he and his family immigrated to Washington in 1989 to start a dairy. In 2002, they built the current farm, and its current operations are just one more example of how Washington dairy farmers are contributing to our state’s environmental sustainability.
Center: 2014-2015 Washington State Dairy Ambassador, Janis DeJager. Left: Washington State Dairy Ambassador Alternate, Marcella Bartelheimer. Right: Washington State Dairy Ambassador Alternate, Marissa Apperson
Every day, Washington dairy farmers are exploring and implementing ways to be good stewards of their land, and others around the nation have begun to notice. For the fourth time since the U.S. Dairy Sustainability program began in 2012, a Washington state dairy farm has won a U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award. This year, Vander Haak Dairy in Lynden, Washington, won the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Renewable Energy."
Sustainability is key
We celebrate dairy all year round because it’s our job, and because it’s our passion. But we always look forward to June when everyone else gets to celebrate with us for National Dairy Month. It’s a time to enjoy two scoops of ice cream instead of one, add a splash of creamer to our black coffee, sink our teeth into an extra cheesy pizza, and top all our berries with real whipped cream. It’s also a time to recognize the hard work and dedication Washington dairy farmers put in every single day to care for their cows and bring us farm fresh dairy products.
As dairy farmers, food is our life. And as the providers of food, you may think hunger is something we rarely think about. But it’s just the opposite. While hunger is often overlooked off the farm, it’s on our minds a lot. We know that with 1 in 6 Americans struggling with hunger every day, we are surrounded by it – our friends, our neighbors and other people we wouldn’t even expect.
It’s dinner time yet again, and you pull the milk jug out of the fridge to pour each family member a tall glass of farm-fresh milk. It's a nightly tradition you cherish and overlook all at once. Across town and across the state, countless families are doing the same thing -- sharing a meal made a little more perfect with milk. Milk helps create special moments like these every day.
From school to school, Tony and Brenda Veiga of Sunnyside, Washington, spend cold December days picking up food donations for St. Joseph’s Food Bank. And while Brenda volunteers at the food bank every Thursday year round, this is just one way the co-owners of J & K Dairy go above and beyond to give back to their community during the holidays.