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U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards: Program Overview & Nomination Guidelines

The tenth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards will be celebrated by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® (Innovation Center) throughout 2021. The awards recognize dairy farms, businesses and collaborative partnerships for practices and technologies that demonstrate outstanding economic, environmental and social benefits; a longstanding commitment to continuous improvement; and a replicable model to inform and inspire others in advancing dairy sustainability leadership.

Overall Award Categories
  • Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability
  • Outstanding Supply Chain Collaboration
  • Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability
  • Outstanding Community Impact

Nominations must be submitted on this website by 11:59 p.m. CST on March 26, 2021

Nomination Requirements

All nominees must:
  • Be open to an assessment for validation of the submitted information, as needed.
  • Be willing to share the submission with the industry, media and/or public.
Farms must:
  • Be enrolled and in good standing in the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) FARM Animal Care Program. Confirm participation by uploading a copy of the farm’s most recent certificate of participation (required). Farms can obtain a copy from their FARM evaluator or by emailing
  • Currently use, or be willing to complete a FARM Environmental Stewardship assessment OR is a member of an organization that has a timebound goal to complete FARM Environmental Stewardship assessments.
  • Possess a current state milk permit or contract calves/heifers to licensed dairy farms.
Processors must:
  • Within the U.S. market, source 100% of milk from cooperatives and farmers enrolled in the FARM Animal Care Program.
Customers and Community Partners must:
  • Have one member of the partnership that is involved with or part of the U.S. dairy industry and meets the farm and/or processor criteria identified above. Membership in the Dairy Sustainability Alliance® is preferred.

Nomination Process
  • Nominations may be submitted by any individual, group or organization involved with or part of the U.S. dairy community and may be submitted on behalf of themselves or others.
  • The nominated program, project or practices must have been implemented in the U.S.
  • There is no fee to enter this nomination.
  • Nominees are eligible to submit a new nomination each year.
  • Previous winners are eligible for nomination after two full program years have elapsed.
  • Completed nomination forms will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. CST on March 26, 2021.

Submission Process
  • Nominations must be submitted on this website by 11:59 p.m. CST on March 26, 2021, using the online nomination forms. If needed, users can save their responses and come back to complete the submission prior to the final deadline.
  • Easy-to-use templates are available below to assist with compiling the requested information. Users can then copy the responses from the template into the online form for submission.
  • Photos, slides, news articles or additional data and measurements can be uploaded to the submission site but will not be included in the overall evaluation score. These materials are great examples of storytelling and can help support the information included in the written application so are encouraged.
  • The nomination form and accompanying information will not be returned.
  • The Innovation Center reserves the right to publish all or part of the information provided in the nomination form.

Selection Criteria

Dairy Farm Sustainability
Download editable Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability Nomination Template

Winners in the Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability category are leaders in socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound dairy production and exemplify a longstanding commitment to continuous improvement. Successful nominations take a holistic approach to sustainability and provide replicable results to specific projects that can inspire and inform positive change for others.

Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability
Download editable Outstanding Dairy Processing Manufacturing Sustainability Nomination Template

Winners in the Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability category exemplify the triple bottom line of sustainability, having demonstrated steps to innovate, measure and communicate progress. They provide replicable success stories to benefit the dairy community and actively engage with peers and stakeholders to inform continuous improvement industrywide.

Community Impact
Download editable Outstanding Community Impact Nomination Template

The Community Impact category recognizes dairy community efforts that improve lives and communities through positive impacts on health and wellness, hunger relief, workforce development, community volunteering and investment, and/or environmental stewardship. Successful nominations demonstrate instances where farms, cooperatives, processors or other dairy community stakeholders (either collaboratively or as a single entity) develop practical and effective solutions to shared challenges and goals of the communities in which they live and work.

Supply Chain Collaboration
Download editable Outstanding Supply Chain Collaboration Nomination Template

The Supply Chain Collaboration category recognizes collaborative and market-based “grass-to-glass” partnerships to demonstrate that truly sustainable outcomes come when all parts of the supply chain are involved in finding solutions. This award highlights farm-to-fork engagement through a collaborative farm, cooperative, processor and/or retail/food supply partnership to benefit all involved and provide best-in-class examples of sustainable dairy supply chains.


Evaluations will take into consideration differences in size, region and scope of projects, as needed. An objective judging panel will make the final assessment and selection. The judging panel will include experts from academic institutions, government and nongovernmental organizations, and the agricultural/dairy/food industries.

Award Winners

Finalists will be notified in May of 2021.

Winners will receive:
  • An official commemorative plaque and dairy farm sign (when applicable).
  • Recognition via public relations and other promotional activities, including at an awards ceremony.
  • Opportunities to serve as a Dairy Sustainability Ambassador at key events.
  • Use of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards logo for marketing purposes for up to one year.
  • Case studies of their stories featured on


Nominations must be received by 11:59 p.m. CST on March 26, 2021

Download a PDF version of the 2021 Program Overview and Nomination Guidelines.

Please click the green "Join Now" button below to begin your first submission or login to resume draft submissions for the 2021 cycle.

Log in to the Abstract Scorecard

Questions? Organizer: Kelly Sheridan -