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COLUMNISTS

Dear Starbucks: Solutions, not complaints

Erica DeWaard
Erica DeWaard

Editor's note: Dairy farmer Erica DeWaard responds to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson who said in an interview that the coffee chain will encourage consumers to choose milk made from almonds, coconuts, soy or oats, whose production is environmentally friendlier than dairy.

Dear Starbucks,

Solutions not complaints. It's easy to play the blame game and complain about others.  But you and I have similar goals so, instead of tearing each other down, how about we work together.

You want to be sustainable. So do I. As a farmer, I agree sustainability is a big deal. That's why I, and other dairy farmers, work towards becoming more sustainable every day.

You want to save the planet for future generations. So do I. Dairy farmers work hard to take care of their land, to reduce their carbon footprint, and to ultimately be the best stewards of the environment they can be.

You want to save the environment. So do I. Farmers are the original environmentalists.  We want to be able to pass on our farms to future generations in better condition than we found it.

But here's the thing. You want to go about those goals by cutting out dairy. I think you're going about it the wrong way. Like I said, dairy farmers want to reduce their carbon footprint just like you do. But we're actually doing it.

Did you know that in the time between 2007 to 2017 we cut our fuel usage by 20.2%, our water usage by 30.5%, our feed usage by 17.3%, and our land usage by 20.8%? In total we reduced our carbon footprint by 19.2% per gallon of milk produced in a 10-year span. 

Meanwhile, we increased milk yields by 4508 pounds of milk per cow. Talk about working hard to become more sustainable!

Instead of complaining about dairy, how about you help us find even more solutions, and we can work together towards our common goals?

Sincerely,

Erica DeWaard

Washington State Dairy Farmer

P.S. I would like to thank you for supporting local dairies. Every single time you use real milk, it's coming from a dairy farmer like me who works hard to provide you with a quality product.

P.S.S. Even if you want to push milk alternatives (aka nut juice), I'm fine with it. Those alternatives are coming from farmers too. Just don't bash me in the process. Cheers!

Erica DeWaard

Erica DeWaard blogs under the moniker Farmer Girl on Facebook. Check her out on Facebook at https://facebook.com/erica.d.429/