Dairy Strong Sustainability Alliance (DSSA)

The Dairy Strong Sustainability Alliance (DSSA) is a collaborative, industry supported effort to promote and support farmer-led solutions to today’s environmental challenges, taking into account business viability and community engagement.

The alliance was established in 2016 and driven primarily by the Dairy Business Association, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative and The Nature Conservancy.

The DSSA currently supports farmer-led watershed conservation initiatives around Wisconsin, with potential for growth in other states. These non-profit organizations work to foster innovation and shared learning among members to bring about continuous measurable improvements in areas such as water quality and soil health by exploring on-farm conservation strategies such as cover crops and low-disturbance manure injection.

Mutual goals of a farmer-led conservation group and the DSSA are met through the partnership. DSSA services provide the opportunity for the farmer-led group to achieve increased membership, revenue and community engagement.

Collaborating with the DSSA is intended to make more efficient use of time for farmers and group collaborators. Additionally, services provided help the group maintain a professional image and assist the group in realizing goals.

DSSA serves as an incubator and support system for the organizations. The alliance offers various services that each group can choose from depending on its individual needs. Examples include administrative support, communications, strategic services and connections with experts. DSSA also serves as a conduit between the farmer organizations, experts and other entities that can add value and help in achieving their goals and amplifying their stories.

DSSA can also serve as a funding vehicle to help groups secure money for research projects or other initiatives.

Groups supported by the DSSA include Calumet Co. Agricultural Stewardship Alliance, Lafayette Ag Stewardship Alliance, Sheboygan River Progressive Farmers, Peninsula Pride Farms, Western Wisconsin Conservation Council and Yahara Pride Farms.

Vision:

Farmers, their communities and the environment thrive.

Mission: 

Empower farmers to develop and implement practical, innovative solutions collaboratively for environmental, economic and social outcomes.

Learn more

To learn more about the DSSA and charter membership opportunities, contact Lauren Brey at lbrey@voiceofmilk.com or (920) 883-0020 x107.

A new resource is available

Producer-Led Group Roadmap: A guide to farmers and their partners in conservation on the road to success

This document is the result of a collaboration between the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), the Dairy Strong Sustainability Alliance (DSSA) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC). The intended audience for this roadmap is for groups that are either funded through the Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grant (PLWPG) program at DATCP or for those groups that are currently functioning without funding from the program.

These farmer-led organizations foster innovation and shared learning among members to bring about continuous measurable improvements in areas such as water quality and soil health by exploring on-farm conservation practices.

This document guides groups through all of the necessary steps to be successful as a farmer-led watershed organization including setting goals, membership requirements, securing DATCP and outside funding, tracking outcomes, documenting progress, establishing communications, developing work plans and reporting.

Charter Members

Farm groups: Lafayette Ag Stewardship Alliance, Sheboygan River Progressive Farmers, Peninsula Pride Farms, Western Wisconsin Conservation Council and Yahara Pride Farms

Farmer members: Brey Cycle Farm, Cottonwood Dairy, Crave Brothers Farm, Darlington Ridge Farms, Dutch Dairy, Jon-De Dairy, Kinnard Farms, Rosy-Lane Holsteins

General members: Dairy Business Association, Compeer Financial, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, GLC Minerals, Grande Cheese, Houston Engineering Inc., Schreiber Foods, Inc., The Nature Conservancy, Tilth Agronomy, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association

Collaborators:

  • American Society of Agronomy
  • Foremost Farms USA
  • Grassland Dairy Products
  • Innovation Center for US Dairy
  • KCoe Isom
  • Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey
  • Yahara Pride Farms

Learn more about DSSA membership.

Our dairy sustainability ‘lunch and learn’ webinar series:

Webinars are held quarterly at Noon CST

After each webinar, recordings are posted to the Dairy Strong You Tube channel.

Dairy sustainability webinar: Benchmarking sustainability performance

Desired Outcomes

  • Foster environmental, economic and social stewardship
  • Ensure long-term viability of dairy farms and related businesses
  • Proactively align with company/customer demands
  • Demonstrate commitment to community
  • Show science-based outcomes
  • Build relationships with legislators to showcase improvements
  • Engage with community through positive discussion