The Sustainability of Dairy Farms


 Sustainability is a large focus on the modern dairy farm. 

“As dairy farmers, we are good stewards of the land,” said Molly Elgin McWilliams of J-Team Dairy. 

J-Team Dairy in Culpeper, Virginia, is a family-run dairy that focuses on caring for its animals and land. They milk 220 cows focusing on strong herd genetics and high milk quality. The Elgin family farms 175 acres, growing crops like corn, rye, and triticale. 

Like farmers across the country, the Elgin family and J-Team dairy workers implement several practices to protect the soil and water. For example, farmers don’t want resources to go to waste, so systems are in place to prevent manure or other runoff from entering the water supply. J-Team Dairy recently hosted a tree-planting initiative to create a forested riparian buffer. This event saw 220 trees planted on approximately one acre along a local stream. These young trees will grow and their roots will act as a protective barrier for the Rappahannock River Watershed that passes through the farm.

Tree plantings are an easy, low-cost sustainability practice farms can implement to protect local water sources. And it’s not the only way the Elgin family is updating their farming practices. J-Team Dairy continues to modernize its manure storage. 

Dairy farmers often team up with outside groups to improve their farms, especially by working with local environmental groups. By collaborating to protect waterways, wildlife, native crops, and other initiatives, dairy farmers can support their communities for generations to come.  

“I’m proud to tell people we take care of our animals and we take care of our land in order to ship a good product that you all can buy on the shelves,” declared Terri Elgin while sharing recent updates to the farm.  

To learn more about sustainability efforts on dairy farms, visit our Sustainability and the Dairy Industry section. This article is part of an ongoing video series. Follow along on our social media channels as we talk to Southeast dairy farmers about the work they do. 

Related Posts