cows in field

Organic dairy farmers win Good Farm Neighbor Award

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Organic dairy farmers Joe and Tom Molitor have been named the December winners of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's (MDA) Good Farm Neighbor Award. The Molitor brothers milk 300 cows and farm 1200 acres, all certified organic.

The Molitors recently completed the Livestock Environmental Quality Assurance program (LEQA) in which they achieved environmental excellence in water, air, soil and wildlife habitat. As organic farmers they can't use commercial fertilizers and the program helped them determine how to more efficiently utilize their organic nutrients.

The Molitors are also considered pioneers in dairy grazing in the Upper Midwest, having intensively grazed their cows for more than 20 years. Tom Molitor says most of the farmland is used as pasture for rotational grazing which helps avoid the runoff found in a cow yard. He says good environmental stewardship and animal care are the keys to running a successful dairy farm.

"In these times when you have to be really good at what you do – the better care you give your livestock and the better you manage your land – these are the tricks that make things work."

Winners of the MDA's Good Farm Neighbor Award are selected by a committee representing the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and the MDA.