Edge member Sandy Larson of Larson Acres presented yesterday at a United States Department of Agriculture Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities event.
Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative member Sandy Larson speaks at USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities event

Edge member Sandy Larson of Larson Acres presented yesterday at a United States Department of Agriculture Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities event. She spoke about the values important to her every day on her family’s farm: quality, pride and family and how these values are reinforced in her work through the Farmers for Sustainable Food Climate-Smart Program.

Larson is a fifth-generation dairy farmer from Rock County, Wis., who farms alongside three generations of family members. Larson Acres was established in 1957 and today consists of 75 employees, 2,800 cows and more than 5,000 acres of farmland.

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“Successfully teaching and passing the farm to the next generation is important to us; that is our vision at Larson Acres,” Larson said. “We do this by upholding our values in how we live every day.”

As a member of the Lafayette Ag Stewardship Alliance and Farmers for Sustainable Food, Larson participated in a pilot sustainability project from 2019 to 2022, which involved tracking and analyzing data to demonstrate the local impact of conservation practices on the environment and farm finances. With the FSF Climate-Smart Program enrollment underway today, Larson has decided to continue their sustainability efforts through this program, building on the pilot project work. Initial funding for the program comes from a U.S. Department of Agriculture Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities.

“This Climate-Smart program helps us set up an avenue for the technical assistance needed and expertise it takes to evaluate this data on our farm,” Larson said. “We use it to make informed management decisions that benefit our environmental stewardship.”

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack spoke about Climate-Smart projects happening throughout the state, saying they offer new opportunities for farms of all sizes, including financial incentives for farmers, data tracking and potential new revenue streams. Vilsack says the program creates multiple sources of income that respond to the challenges farmers face today.

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“The gist of this program is partnership and collaboration, working together to create new opportunities,” Vilsack said. “This is an opportunity for farmers to be entrepreneurial, expand their income streams and be sustainable.”

The event was held at Great River Milling in Fountain City, Wis., to celebrate the launch of the first-ever Climate-Smart branded consumer product under the USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities initiative.

“Today’s announcement represents the first of what I suspect will be hundreds of products that are produced in the country to resolve and to respond to consumer demand for sustainably produced food but also provide an opportunity for farmers to get a better share in the marketplace,” Vilsack said.

Visit farmersforsustainablefood.com for more information about the FSF Climate-Smart Program, offered in partnership with Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative. Farmers interested in enrolling should send an email to climate-smart@voiceofmilk.com.

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