Iowa Dairy Farm Receives National Sustainability Award

St. Paul, Minn. — Midwest Dairy member Cinnamon Ridge Farms received a national designation of Outstanding Dairy Farm at the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards during a May 8 ceremony in Rosemont, Illinois. This honor was awarded to just three farms in the country, marking an extraordinary achievement for the Donahue, Iowa, business that is operated by John and Joan Maxwell and their daughter, Amy.

The award program is organized by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and recognizes dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose practices improve the well-being of people, animals and the planet. As award winners, Cinnamon Ridge Farms represents Midwest Dairy’s commitment to sustainability, demonstrating how transparency and ingenuity lead to sustainable and scalable practices that benefit their businesses, communities and the environment.

“John and Joan’s efforts on their farm are second-to-none when it comes to positively impacting their animals, land and the environment,” said Lucas Lentsch, Midwest Dairy CEO. “Their passion for learning and problem solving has been the driving force behind their flourishing business, and it’s exciting to see the legacy they are building for sustainable practices across our industry.”

Early in their career as owners of Cinnamon Ridge Farms, the Maxwells found an economic and environmentally sustainable solution to sourcing cow feed by planting a cover crop during the winter season. The crop, rye grass, survived harsh growing conditions while also being a nutritious food source for the cows. The cover crop prevents nutrient runoff and erosion, building healthier soil for corn or soybean crops. The farm also became a destination for food waste, accepting 2,000 pounds of coffee creamer from a manufacturing company each week. Now, instead of that same creamer ending up in a landfill, it provides a carbohydrate source for the cows’ diet with added flavor.

In addition, the Maxwells have been ambassadors for these successful sustainability practices with fellow farmers. Through both formal programs – like their annual internships, tours and events – to more informal conversations and information-sharing with other farmers, they are extending the reach of their sustainability practices and ensuring current and future generations of farmers have the right tools to help their businesses and the environment.

Judges evaluated nominations based on their economic, environmental and community impact. The independent judging panel – including leading dairy conservation and commercial experts – also considered innovation, scalability and replicability.

Midwest Dairy™ represents 7,000 dairy farm families and works on their behalf to build dairy demand by inspiring consumer confidence in our products and production practices. We are committed to Bringing Dairy to Life! by Giving Consumers an Excellent Dairy Experience and are funded by farmers across a 10-state region, including Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter and find us on Facebook at Midwest Dairy. For relevant conversations about issues and trends in the dairy community, listen to Dairy on the Air.

Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® is a forum that brings together the dairy community to address the changing needs and expectations of consumers through a framework of shared best practices and accountability. Initiated in 2008 by dairy farmers through the dairy checkoff, we collaborate on efforts that are important both to us and our valued customers – issues like animal care, food safety, nutrition and health, the environment and economics. The Innovation Center is committed to continuous improvement from farm to table, striving to ensure a socially responsible and economically viable dairy community. Visit for more information about the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.