Sustainability is a buzzword in today’s world as people become more interested in taking care of our natural resources for the generations to come. What does this word mean though? Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In addition to natural resources, we also need social and economic resources.
Dairy farmers are committed to producing delicious, nutrient rich milk as well as taking care of the land and their animals. To meet the growing need of the US population, farmers are working hard to reduce their impact on the environment by finding ways to use less land, water, and energy to produce more food and milk. Each gallon of milk produced today requires 90 percent less land and 65 percent less water, with a 63 percent smaller carbon footprint than it did almost 70 years ago. In fact, US farmers today are producing almost three times the amount of milk with about half the number of cows.
Dairy farmers work with experts to find new ways to increase production of milk with fewer cows through genetics, improved cow comfort, and advances in the diets and nutrition of dairy cows. The dairy industry is making strides in becoming even more sustainable. “Healthy, well-treated cows produce high quality, nutritious dairy products,” states Monica Nyman, a Registered Dietitian with the St. Louis District Dairy Council. Dairy farmers prioritize conserving resources such as water, land and energy. They also carefully manage waste. Many farmers spread natural manure into the soil, which reduces the amount of commercial fertilizer needed. Cows are natural recyclers with four stomachs to help them recycle food that people can’t eat, such as citrus pulp and cottonseed.
Earth Day celebrations in April are the perfect occasion to remind consumer how they can make an impact on the environment. One easy way is to be more mindful of food waste. Choose smaller portions and buy only what you will eat. “Making healthy food choices that include dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, will help to keep you feeling fuller longer and give you a nutritious bang for your buck,” says Nyman. Additional tips for taking care of the environment include turning off lights and electronics, recycling when possible, switching to reusable, and being water-wise. In our own everyday ways, we can join dairy farmers in being environmentally responsible and taking care of our natural resources.
For more information on sustainability and the health benefits of dairy, visit www.stldairycouncil.org or contact Monica Nyman with St. Louis District Dairy Council: call 309-681-4629, or e-mail mnyman@stldairycouncil. For more delicious and nutritious recipes, check us out on Facebook and Instagram at STLDairyCouncil.
Brussel Sprouts Gratin
If you are looking for a new spring recipe to try out, then look no further! This recipe is delicious and nutritious, with dairy ingredients offering 3 of the 4 nutrients of concern for Americans: calcium, Vitamin D, and Potassium. Plus, the Brussels sprouts provide fiber, which is the fourth nutrient of concern. Stock up on the ingredients and give this recipe a try-while Brussel sprouts are still in season!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Bake time: 22 minutes
3 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup sliced shallots (about 2 shallots)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (32 oz) bag of fresh Brussels sprouts, cored and halved
1/4 tsp kosher salt
pinch black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
3/4 cup heavy cream (heavy whipping cream)
3/4 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (or 1/2 cup bacon bits)
Fresh minced parsley, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Add butter to a large oven safe pan or skillet, and heat over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic and Brussels sprouts to pan, seasoning with kosher salt, black pepper and paprika. Sauté, stirring occasionally, about 5-8 minutes.
Remove pan from heat; pour in heavy cream. Sprinkle cheddar and Gruyere cheese over the Brussels sprout mixture. Top with crumbled bacon and bake for 12 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Sprinkle with additional black pepper and minced parsley, if desired.