The Beemster Story
What is Caring Dairy?
Caring Dairy represents sustainable enterprise. This means there should be a good balance between:
• Happy cows: healthy cows are contented and live longer (animal welfare).
• Happy farmers: the farmer must be able to make a decent living with his farm (economically sound farm).
• Happy Planet: an interest in the environment in which our farmers live and work (energy use and climate).
Within the Caring Dairy program Beemster works closely together with the initiator of this program: ice-cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s.
Caring Dairy focuses on the continual improvement of the program’s sustainability based upon eleven indicators. Dairy farmers use these indicators to determine any steps that need to be taken to work in a more sustainable way. The focus lies on the indicators that are particularly important to the Dutch dairy industry: animal welfare, human capital, the quality of the countryside, energy, and climate.
After a particular period of time, the farmer will once again look at how he is doing with regard to the indicators he has been working on. The four-step plan will then be started afresh, since there are always opportunities for achieving further sustainability.
It is important that the farmers themselves assess which measures are necessary to achieve sustainable business practices. After all, each farm is different (e.g. the type of shed, the number of cows and the type of soil). In addition, each farmer will have a thorough knowledge of his own business, and will therefore know which measures would have the most impact. For examples of continuous sustainability, click here.
More than 150 workshops
The workshops form an important part of the continuous sustainability process. Each dairy farmer attends one of these workshops at least three times a year. This means that Beemster organizes more than 150 workshops a year.
• Ben & Jerry’s
• 500 dairy farmers
• Wageningen University
• Advisors including:
o World Wildlife Fund
o Stichting Natuur en Milieu