Best Baa Dairy buys their sheep’s milk from local farms that do not use GMOs or pesticides in their farming practices. They ensure that the animals are well cared for and safe from harm. Overall they promote life on land and work to combat climate change.
Best Baa focuses on the five freedoms when taking care of the sheep. They are the freedom from; hunger and thirst, fear and disease, discomfort, pain and injury, and freedom to express natural, normal behaviour. By using these freedoms as a guide the sheep tend to not need medical attention. This promotes life on land and will prevent antibiotic resistance which can be extremely harmful to entire species when they all catch a similar virus and the remedy no longer works on them. The business also follows guidelines set by Local Food Plus which encourages local sustainable food producers to reduce or eliminate pesticide use, treat their animals well, conserve soil and water, protect wildlife habitat, provide safe and fair working conditions, reduce energy use, and sell locally wherever possible.
The farms the sheep are raised on grow certified organic food and the animals are not fed corn or soy or any genetically modified foods. This is to ensure the sheep are getting all the nutritious food they need to be healthy. By not using any pesticides in the raising of the animals they promote biodiversity which is good for the environment and promote the life of other animals. They also use recyclable and BPA-free packing which benefits the health of people and the planet. They also source their milk from within 100km of their processing facility. This decreases their carbon footprint and therefore is helping them combat climate change.
The original founders of Best Baa Dairy brought this specific breed of sheep over from the United Kingdom. In the UK this entire species was being infected with foot and mouth disease and eventually had to be killed off to prevent it from spreading. This breed was saved when the founders brought embryos to Canada to start their own flock. The family then recognized there was an industry for sheep's milk and sheep's milk products. These kinds of products were seen as taboo in the western world according to Nicole Bzikot. The three-generation farming family highly values respect of all animals and is why they prioritize the health and wellbeing of the sheep. The co-owner/operator was vegetarian for a while due to her large respect for animals and the treatment of them but unfortunately couldn’t continue due to lack of nutrition. They also no longer milk their own sheep, they buy milk from neighbouring Amish farms. This supports local business and helps farmers enter the sheep industry. The founding couple no longer runs their own farm but sits on many boards to help support local farmers and educate them on their business practices.
The farming style and dairy products of Best Baa Dairy have had a short-term overall impact within their local agricultural industry, which allows them to have a much larger collective overall impact in collaboration with their farming community. Best Baa Dairy has lead by example in their community by remaining as a small scale family run business. Nicole Bzikot states that this action has encouraged their local farming community to keep the family in farming, and to not sell out to become a part of the modern agricultural corporate conglomerate that has such negative impacts on the environment. Bzikot has seen concrete evidence of the impact that they are able to have on their local farming community, as she receives regular emails from traditional farmers, inquiring about how they can convert to more sustainable farming practices and how they can have a lower impact on the environment.
Nicole Bzikot believes that Best Baa will have long term impacts in the areas of combatting climate change and in the areas of promoting a lasting priority for animal rights. The small scale nature of their business allows them to have a minimal carbon footprint in comparison to most other agricultural practices, and their actions to encourage small scale farming in their community will hopefully last and will create a future of low impact farming.
The farming style and high-quality dairy products of Best Baa Dairy benefit their business in more ways than just profitability in comparison to their competitors. Their high-quality gourmet products allow them to charge more for their products, and their small scale operation allows them to have low-cost margins. Their healthy dairy products drive interest from health food and high-end grocery retailers, which has allowed them to expand into a provincial market as they are now distributed through grocery stores across Ontario, rather than just within their local community. Due to increasing demand for their products, they now employ 10 people which is a large increase from the 3-5 people that originally worked for Best Baa. In addition to their increasing distribution area and increasing workforce, Best Baa has gained the unique ability to advocate for animal rights and ethical business practices due to their superb treatment of their sheep and their employees. Nicole Bzikot of Best Baa Dairy speaks to the fact that she receives emails on a regular basis from customers voicing their admiration and support for the way their company is owned and operated, which she states serves as concrete evidence for how their unique farming practices are able to benefit the business.
The farming practices and the business operation of Best Baa Dairy benefit both society and the environment, which is not something that many businesses can say.
Best Baa Dairy has the unique ability to benefit society in the areas of providing healthy products and bringing awareness to animal rights and overall ethical business practices. They provide communities all across Ontario with healthy and antibiotic-free dairy products packaged in BPA free plastics, while simultaneously educating their customers on the proper treatment of farm animals and employees. Nicole Bzikot states that such integrity and advocacy from a profitable business like Best Baa often seems to encourage other businesses in the same industry to model their behaviour after Best Baa, which simply allows them to effect a greater positive social impact.
In addition to their social impacts, Best Baa has been able to impact the environment positively because of their small size and their utilization of recyclable packaging with all of their products. Their small scale nature and their commitment to sourcing raw products from farms no further than 100km away from their production facility allows them to have a minimal carbon footprint in comparison to most other farms, and allows them to contribute positively to combating climate change.
Nicole Bzikot, Co-Owner/Operator
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Fergus, Ontario, CA
Business Website: bestbaa.com
Year Founded: 1998
Number of Employees: 2 to 10