On The Farm


Our farmer-owners are one of our most valuable assets, and not just for the high-quality milk they provide us. By raising the standards of land and animal stewardship across all our milk suppliers, they’re ensuring farms will thrive for generations to come.

Farmer sitting on hay with dog

Diverting Tons of Plastic Waste One Truckful at a Time

By far the biggest source of plastic waste on farms comes in the form of those big marshmallows you often see in fields. The plastic protects the bales from rain and spoilage. TCCA member farms generate over 100 tons of this kind of plastic every year, all of it destined for the landfill. After hearing our farmers challenge the team to find a way to recycle this waste, Tillamook Field Services Natural Resources Manager Casey Storey didn’t need any additional encouragement to start rounding it all up.

After researching and contacting partners, we collected the used plastic wraps ourselves to test if they could be recycled. “I would usually borrow a pickup truck from our facilities people and then go get a U-Haul trailer every week,” Casey says. Since then, the cooperative has turned this scrappy process into a standardized one, investing in a baler and collecting plastic from our members at our Tillamook Farm Store, free of charge.

To date, Casey and other members of the Farm Services team have sent 20,000 lbs of plastic to a recycler and have already collected an additional 40,000 lbs that is ready to ship. By taking the initiative, the Farm Services team, in partnership with the Tillamook Farm Store team, was able to make a huge impact in a short amount of time with little more than grit and determination to make a difference.

Going Above and Beyond Conventional Cow Care

For our farmer-owners, the daily demands of running a dairy farm can leave little in the way of free time. There is always something to do, whether it’s maintaining equipment, testing milk samples or tending to the never-ending needs of their cows. No two farms are alike, but farmer-owners all have a list of projects they’d love to undertake to raise the standard of care for their animals. Making these projects a reality requires additional resources.

Our animal care incentive program further supports our farmers to bring these projects to life. Farmers can bring a plan to our Farm Services team to receive a $2,500 bonus for making it a reality. “It’s been good and positive to move away from box-checking activities on a standardized evaluation to doing some of these things that are really impactful for each individual farm,” says Director of Farm Engagement Kate Lott, DVM. By putting power into our farmers’ hands, we’re able to be more proactive in improving the well-being of their animals.

How our farmer-owners are putting their incentives to use

Every calf needs a different amount of milk to grow to a healthy weight. One farm fed calves more milk than normal and tracked their weight over a specific period of time to better understand the unique dietary needs of each one.

When it’s time to stretch their legs, these cows use improved walking paths that protect their hooves to reach the pasture without slipping.

Automatic foot baths clean cow hooves as they return to the barn. Healthy hooves help curb disease and keep cows comfortable.


Part of our ongoing efforts to help our co-op members reduce their environmental impact involves our Farm Services team soil sampling on member farms. Over the past two years, we’ve more than doubled the acres sampled across TCCA member farms — from 1,671 acres in 2021 to 3,551 acres in 2023. Knowing what nutrients are in a farm’s soil, and in what quantity, can help farmers increase crop yields and reduce fertilizer use — thereby reducing their potential impact on water quality and climate.