Family-Owned Georgia Farm Nominated for International Dairy Federation Innovation Awards


Source: The Dairy Alliance

Hillcrest Farms is a contender for “Innovation in Sustainable Farming Practices-Socio-Economic”

After a remarkable year of sustainability progress, Hillcrest Farms Inc., a member of The Dairy Alliance, has been nominated as a finalist in the 2023 International Dairy Federation (IDF) Innovation Awards for “Innovation in Sustainable Farming Practices-Socio-Economic.” The IDF Dairy Innovation Awards celebrates the best of the best in the dairy industry and showcases the new processes, practices, and products revealed over the year.

Hillcrest Farms, based in Dearing, GA, has been working diligently with researchers to quantify the farm’s greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint and identify practices to further reduce GHG emissions. Hillcrest Farms is recognized as a trailblazer for other farms around the Southeast and the country, as it shares an impressive story about how a farm can be sustained for the future.

“We’re honored to see Hillcrest Farms, a family-owned farm, be selected as a finalist on the global stage,” said Geri Berdak, Chief Executive Officer at The Dairy Alliance. “Their team has set the blueprint for how other farms can use teamwork and collaboration in striving for better sustainable practices. We are thrilled with the reception of this award by the International Dairy Federation (IDF) and being celebrated in the dairy community.”

The Dairy Alliance, a leading nonprofit funded by dairy farm families of the Southeast United States, has been working hand-in-hand with Hillcrest Farms to educate and promote better sustainable practices on dairy farms throughout the Southeast.

Over the past few years, Hillcrest Farms has been a leader in both sustainability and innovation. In 2019, Hillcrest Farms became the first dairy farm in Georgia to milk cows with robotic milkers. The family-owned farm installed five robots on its farm, which replaces the traditional milking parlor, so each cow is allowed to go at their leisure. This system has allowed the farm’s family and employees to focus on the other aspects of the cow, such as cow comfort, herd health, and management, as they continue to maintain the farm.

Hillcrest Farms is one of the 86 family-owned dairy farms across the state of Georgia that has embraced innovative practices that lead to environmental improvements and resiliency. There are a number of dairy farms across the state that have made significant improvements such as installing anaerobic digesters to turn cow manure into electricity, installing robotic milkers, and elaborate cow cooling systems consisting of fans and misters to prioritize cow health and well-being.

“Hillcrest Farms is appreciative of the selection as a finalist for the IDF Innovation Award and to represent the Southeast U.S. dairy industry,” said Mark Rodgers, owner of Hillcrest Farms. “Our dedication to adopting innovation and sustainable farming practices will allow Hillcrest Farms to be passed down to the next generation and allow us to continue to be good stewards of the natural resources in our local community in Georgia.”

Hillcrest Farms will be a finalist amongst other international dairy leaders who are making positive changes in global food systems, technologies, sustainability, and more across the dairy sector. The winners will be announced on October 16, 2023 during the IDF World Dairy Summit in Chicago.

To learn more about Hillcrest Farms, visit or book a farm tour at For more information about The Dairy Alliance, visit or follow them on Facebook or Instagram @TheDairyAlliance.