Joseph Gallo Farms, which makes Joseph Farms cheese near Atwater, has received a national award for its efforts to protect the environment.
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy gave Gallo Farms the Outstanding Dairy Processing and Manufacturing Sustainability Award. It was one of six honors presented at the center's third annual award ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Gallo Farms was recognized for its efforts to conserve water and energy on its dairy farms and in the cheese plant. It irrigates with storm runoff and wastewater from nearby communities, produces energy from cattle manure, and pipes milk to reduce transportation costs.
"The company's 'green farming' and processing techniques are not only good for people and the environment, but also are good business," said Mike Gallo, chief executive officer, in a news release. "It's the way we do things."
He is the son of the late Joseph Gallo, who established the cheese plant in 1982. The elder Gallo was the brother of the late Ernest and Julio Gallo, founders of E.&J. Gallo Winery of Modesto. The two companies are not affiliated.
The Gallo Farms cheese operation employs about 450 people. It makes jack, cheddar, mozzarella, gouda, muenster, provolone and swiss.
The award is one of several Gallo Farms has received in recent years for waste reduction, energy and water conservation, and protection of wetlands.
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy also honored Maddox Dairy in Fresno County and operations in Kansas, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Washington state.
"The award winners embody the dairy industry's pledge to provide a healthy future for the next generation through nutritious foods and beverages, community development and innovative business practices," said Barbara O'Brien, the center's president.