Sustainable Dairy Farming

Breyers’ Invests in
Dairy Farmers Using
Cover Crops

6 mins  Sept 05, 2023

Since 1866, Breyers has been committed to using high-quality, sustainably sourced ingredients to create America’s favorite ice cream. Now, we not only use sustainably sourced ingredients, but we also support and invest in our farmers who practice sustainable farming.

Since 2020, Breyers has partnered with Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA), Barry Callebaut, and the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan (CMPM) to study and share the feasibility of cover crops on dairy operations through the Cover Crop Project1. Our goal is to invest in the future of farming and ensure our dairy farmers continue producing fresh Grade A milk and cream for generations to come.

Cover crops are typically grasses and beans planted by farmers in unused fields to improve soil health through crop rotation, reduce erosion with ground cover, control pests by interrupting their lifecycle and more2. Implementing cover crops into dairy farming operations is not always an easy task as it takes time and money away from core operations, like feeding and milking cows. Through the Cover Crop Project, Breyers, MMPA, Barry Callebaut and CMPM share the costs of planting cover crops with participating dairy farmers and, in exchange, the farmers monitor soil health metrics and share their experiences with other farmers to help spread the benefits of cover crops.

Breyers® Vanilla Ice Cream Products

Breyers is proud to support the dairy farmers making important changes to practice sustainable farming and invest in the future of agriculture. Funds from the Cover Crop Project are used to reduce the on-farm cost of crop transition, provide technical assistance to help farmers identify the best cover crops for their farm, and improve access to expert advisors and fellow participants who can help share information farmer to farmer.

At Breyers, we look forward to the annual Cover Crop Field Day3, where participating dairy farmers get together to share how they are utilizing cover crops on their farms, the benefits they’ve experienced in the program, and tips related to sustainable farming operations like manure management, planting and harvesting methods. The practical application of cover crops in a dairy crop rotation is always a key topic of conversation so program sponsors, like Breyers, can learn how to encourage other dairy farms to adopt this sustainable practice.

Breyers® Natural Vanilla Ice Cream

Ultimately, through the Cover Crop Project, with MMPA, Barry Callebaut and CMPM, we will share access to aggregated data that will help dairy farmers across America better understand the impact of cover crops on farming operations and the benefits they bring to soil health, water quality and biodiversity.

Sustainability is part of Breyers’ DNA. We were the first national ice cream brand to only use dairy from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones and 100% Grade A milk and cream. William Breyers made a pledge to only use the highest quality ingredients nearly 160 years ago, and we’ve only doubled down on that commitment. We do things better not only by making our business more sustainable, but also by supporting our suppliers, whether dairy farmers in Michigan or vanilla bean farmers in the rainforest. It’s our goal to do better for our planet, our customers, and our ice cream one delicious, and sustainable, scoop of ice cream at a time.

  1. “Cover Crops Project.” Michigan Milk Producers Association.
  2. “Cover Crops for Sustainable Crop Rotations.” SARE Outreach, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, 2015.
  3. “MMPA members gather for Cover Crop Field Day.” Michigan Milk Producers Association, 2023.