The quality programm Milk for Hochland

Milk is our most important raw material. That is why the well-being and health of the cows are of essential importance to us.

We attach great value to cooperating with our contract farmers and behaving responsibly towards them. In regular and constructive discussions with our farmer supplier communities, we develop ways and goals to achieve even more animal-friendly and sustainable milk production. Hochland Deutschland has set up its own quality program for this purpose: Milk for Hochland. This is our path to achieve even greater animal welfare.

100% QM milk certification

To ensure that the milk for our products is produced responsibly, all contract farmers participate in QM-Milch (QM-Milk). QM-Milch is a nationwide, uniform quality program of the German dairy industry with strict standards that are regularly examined on farms.

An external testing institute controls the husbandry and health of the cows, the hygienic conditions of the entire milk production process, the use of medicines and the feed quality. QM-Milk sets verifiable quality standards for milk production and ensures a transparent, traceable production process.

Animal welfare program

For certifying the farms, we cooperate with the German Agricultural Society (Deutsche Landwirtschaftsgesellschaft e.V. (DLG)) in order to continually improve the health and well-being of the cows. Because this is a matter of the heart for our contract farmers and for us as a dairy. Half of our German milk is already certified according to an animal welfare program that has been classified in the second highest level (level 3 "outdoor climate"*) of the four-level husbandry system label initiated by the trade.

*The aim of the four-tiered husbandry labelling scheme is to provide the consumer with a transparent orientation aid to better classify the different requirements in animal husbandry.

The DLG has developed the DLG Animal Welfare Silver Standard, among other standards. Around 270 of our German contract farmers are already certified according to this standard. It contains verifiable criteria such as contact with the outside climate or a soft bedded lying area for each cow. The core of this standard is the well-being, health and even more animal-friendly husbandry of the cows. We are continuously expanding our participation in the animal welfare program.

Find out more about the animal welfare program at:
DLG-Silber Tierwohl-Programm

More space for cows to move

Our German milk comes from around 1000 mostly small and medium-sized family farms in southern Germany, mainly around our Bavarian location in Schongau. More space to move means that the cows are kept on the pasture for at least six hours per day for at least 120 days or in accordance with the husbandry criterion for husbandry level.

The husbandry conditions on the farms of our contract farmers vary. In addition to modern loose housing, there is also tethering on mostly small farms with few cows and in areas that are difficult to manage, such as mountainous regions. Hochland Deutschland GmbH has reached an agreement with these contract farmers, according to which dairy farms with classic tethering have committed themselves to ensuring more freedom of movement for the dairy cows since 1st January 2022. This new regulation has been discussed in the agricultural committees for several years. It was combined with an offer to our contract farmers to seek advice from an independent institution to show them solutions for changing over to “Kombinationshaltung” (combined housing). The costs for providing this advice were covered by Hochland Deutschland GmbH. We take our responsibility towards our contract farmers very seriously. That is why we will continue to collect milk from year-round tethered farming after 1st January 2022 and sell it on.

For more climate and environmental protection

We have set ourselves ambitious climate and environmental protection targets in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. For this reason, Hochland Deutschland GmbH joined the Science Based Targets-Initiative (SBTi) in November 2020.

Nature and the environment have a special significance for Hochland. This is self-evident since our most important raw material is milk. We believe that protecting the environment is one of the essential prerequisites for producing food that supports a nutritious, sustainable diet. By joining the Science Based Targets initiative, Hochland Deutschland GmbH has become the first company in the German dairy industry to commit to reducing its CO2e footprint by 2030 in line with the Paris Climate Agreement in such a way that a proven contribution is made to limiting global warming to below two degrees Celsius and, if possible, 1.5 degrees Celsius. We are working on reducing the CO2e footprint of milk step by step and are implementing corresponding measures, for example regarding feeding in our Milk for Hochland quality program.

CO2e stands for CO2 equivalent and is a unit of measurment used to compare different greenhouse gases.

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