KINDERHOOK, NY – The US Department of Agriculture chose a pilot project involving organic dairy producer Maple Hill Creamery to receive as much as $20 million.

Part of the USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program, the project to grow markets for climate-smart, grass-fed organic dairy was one of 70 unveiled on Sept. 14, when the USDA announced $2.8 billion in funding for the program’s first pool. 

Maple Hill is leading a project that aims not only to expand climate-smart markets for its family dairy farmers, but also facilitate members of its network of partners to enhance such practices. Through implementation and providing training, the pilot program targets the creation of “more impactful environmental practices and enhanced viability” for farms that are involved.

“As the largest 100% grass-fed dairy business in the US, it is incumbent on Maple Hill to continue to develop, implement and lead best practices in sustainable dairy farming,” said Jim Hau, president of Maple Hill. “All of us involved with the Maple Hill business are excited to receive this funding, which will not only allow us to build on industry best practices for sustainability, but allow us to continue to educate more consumers on why grass-fed organic dairy is better for consumers, the environment, the cows and the farmers.”

The New York-based creamery is partnering with numerous entities for the project: Paul Harris Development, Stone Barns, Point Blue Conservation Science, DGA Dairy Grazing, Open TEAM at Wolfe’s Neck Center, Shannon O'Sullivan, K&O Farm, James Young, Amber Waves, Spring Weather, Serenity Acres Farm, Evening Star Ranch, Reginelli and Aeschlimann, Adam Tafel, Periggo Farm, Whole Foods and Dharma Lea, LLC.

Each pilot project involved with the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program can last as long as five years. The full list of 70 projects selected for the program’s initial round can be found online at the USDA’s website.